It's not uncommon for middle school students to be self-conscious about their hair and losing it could be tough to take -- but the clippers came out on Wednesday at Clearwater Middle School as dozens of students shaved their heads to support a classmate going through chemotherapy.
The cafeteria was packed -- but it wasn't because the kids were hungry. A group of 81 kids -- mostly boys with a few girls -- came to show a 12-year-old Waconia boy who is battling Lymphoma that he is not alone.
Tate Maurer spent part of his 12th birthday getting a cat scan. On Thanksgiving Day, he was diagnosed with cancer. Since then, many tears have been shed -- but on Wednesday there were tears of joy.
At school, Maurer is known as the kid with the cool hair.
"The spikes -- my mom is wild about them," he explained. "You got to get them gelled up. Everyone loves it."
His 'do became an even bigger deal once he got his diagnosis and learned chemotherapy would be in his future -- along with the loss of his locks. Yet, even though it's been an emotional few weeks, he's got a sense of humor and a fighting spirit.
"I know I'm going to kick its butt," he said.
His classmates do too -- and that's why 81 of them turned out to show their support by getting their heads shaved with him.
"It's overwhelming," he said. "It's just like all these people who care so much. It's so cool."
Maurer admitted he thought a couple of friends would show up, but he was stunned to see nearly 100 other students respond to the buzz. Even those like Jenna Ridler -- who doesn't even know Maurer -- stepped up to the chopping chair.
"It's awesome," he said. "So cool to know so many people care enough to do this because they probably miss their hair as much as I do and that's a whole lot."
Maurer was the first to face the clippers, but his dad wasn't about to let his son go it alone. Even his little sister cut her hair and donated it to Locks of Love.
"We're doing this together -- fighting through it together," Maurer said.
Maurer has now begun his first four months of chemotherapy, but the good news is that doctors say the form of lymphoma he has is highly curable.
Anyone who wishes to help the Maurer family with the costs of Tate's treatment can send a check to the following address:
Tate Maurer Donation Trust
P.O. Box 849
Chanhassen, MN 55317