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North Hall Middle students, teachers and principal shave their heads for student with cancer

POSTED: January 13, 2014 11:54 p.m.

Tyler Wages grinned as he swept the clippers over his principal’s head Monday afternoon and clumps of hair fell onto the gym floor. 

North Hall Middle School Principal Shane Rayburn smiled at the students cheering Tyler on from the bleachers in the North Hall High School gym during the Shave for Tyler event.

Shortly before he put on the black salon cape and knelt in front of the sixth-grader, Rayburn ran his fingers through his hair one last time.

Rayburn agreed to shave his head as a show of support for Tyler, who was diagnosed with a facial solid tissue cancer on Dec. 23, if the school raised $1,000 for children with cancer.

The school created “Team Tyler” and, through donations and the sale of T-shirts and rubber “Team Tyler” wristbands, has raised more then $3,500, as of Monday. A fund has also been set up at Regions Bank under the name of “Team Tyler” for donations from the community.

Christine Wages, Tyler’s mother, said the goal is to raise awareness for childhood cancers.

“We want to bring awareness to childhood cancer because we never would have expected it to happen to us,” Christine Wages said. 

In October, after getting braces, Tyler started complaining about painful headaches. Eventually, an orthopedic surgeon noticed an abnormality on an MRI and referred him to a neurosurgeon. 

Tyler was admitted to the emergency room at 8 a.m. on Dec. 23 and within 48 hours was getting his first chemotherapy treatment. He has an aggressive form of cancer and is currently undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments in Atlanta. His treatments will continue until June, but the tumor near his left eye has begun to shrink. 

Tyler went to school for a few hours Monday morning and was welcomed by the school band, cheerleaders and classmates as they lined the sixth-grade hallway and cheered for him.

“More than anything he just wants to be normal and go back to school and go back to a normal life,” said Scott Wages, Tyler’s father. “Seeing his buddies has been some of the best medicine he’s had to date.”

Many of his classmates took their show of support a step further Monday night by getting their heads shaved at Canvas Hair Studio on Thompson Bridge Road. 

The studio was filled with Tyler’s classmates and their parents. Many of the boys laughed as they shaved each other’s heads. Several teachers and friends donated their longer hair to Locks of Love. 

Scott Wages smiled as he shaved the heads of several of Tyler’s friends. Tyler sat on the couch behind his father, watching his friends make animated expressions through the mirror. 

Seth Carlton, 12, looked at his reflection and took a deep breath.

“Well, there’s no going back,” Seth said. 

Tina Landis, a hair stylist at the salon, said the idea behind the event was to do something to show the Wages family the community cares.

“That’s just the North Hall community, if one person is in need it seems like everybody surrounds them and does what they can,” Landis said. 

“I think people think if they can’t give a big dollar amount there’s not a whole lot they can do. But there is so much more than that, even if it means just shaving heads.”

Scott Wages said his family has been overwhelmed by the show of support from the community since Tyler’s diagnosis. 

But most of all he’s proud of the way Tyler has handled his challenge. 

“We told him this is the way God is using him to help other kids,” Scott Wages said. 

“They’ll see him as a sign of strength. If he can go through this, then they can go through whatever obstacles they have in life. That’s just how we’re approaching it with him. God’s just doing great things through him. We may not understand it, but we just have to find comfort in knowing that’s his hand at work.”

Shave for Tyler event

North Hall Middle Principal Shane Rayburn gets a haircut by Tyler Wages, a North Hall Middle sixth-grader who is currently under treatment for cancer.


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