These Boys Were Mocked By Bullies For Their Long Hair, But Their Actions Made People Take Notice

Image: Phoebe Kannisto via Inside Edition

Heartless bullies mocked the Kannisto brothers for their luscious long locks until finally, they cut them off. However, when people learned the significance of their flowing tresses, it made some of them reconsider their comments.

Phoebe Kannisto and her husband, Eric, live in Cheektowaga in upstate New York. Together they have seven children. Their oldest son is named Andre, and then there’s twins Emerson and Silas, followed by triplets Dexter, Reed and Herbie. The youngest member of the brood is a little girl named Marah Taylor.

Unfortunately for the Kannisto boys, they found themselves the victims of teasing. It seemed that their long locks made them different from their classmates, and caused them to be the target of cruel jibes.

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In an interview with the site HuffPost in 2017, Phoebe revealed, “One son has been teased more than the others. He and I have had many tear-filled conversations over the last several months.” However, despite the bullying, the boys continued to grow their hair.

Image: Phoebe Kannisto via Inside Edition

However, the reason behind the brothers’ fondness for their flowing tresses was a noble one. That’s because they weren’t growing their manes for aesthetic reasons, but to help others that were less fortunate than them.

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Image: Phoebe Kannisto via Inside Edition

The boys’ inspiration had come from their busy mom, Phoebe. Since she was a young girl, the kind-hearted soul has been donating her hair to charity. The locks are used to help those who’ve lost their hair due to medical reasons.

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Image: Phoebe Kannisto via Inside Edition

Phoebe’s hair donations were a solo endeavor for many years. But in 2014 a personal tragedy inspired three of her eldest sons to get involved. Indeed, it was the death of a young family friend that brought the importance of charity home.

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Image: Phoebe Kannisto via Inside Edition

Explaining what happened, in 2017 Phoebe told HuffPost, “Three years ago, my friend lost her son to cancer,” she said. “He was a twin and very close in age to my twins. On the first anniversary of his passing, my three oldest boys donated their hair in his memory.”

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Image: ABC News

However, following their first big chop, the boys decided that they wanted to continue to help. “Since their donation two years ago, our lives have continued to be touched by cancer. It’s everywhere. My boys want to help, and donating their hair is how they do it,” Phoebe explained.

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The Kannisto family donates their hair to Children with Hair Loss. The charity provides free hair replacements for kids that have lost their hair due to medical conditions. Some of the kids they have helped have suffered from burns, alopecia, and cancer. And something as simple as replacement hair can help them at their lowest ebb.

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To make its hair replacement service possible, Children with Hair Loss relies on donations from the public. However, before generous individuals can hand their hair over, it must be at least eight inches long.

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Image: Phoebe Kannisto via Inside Edition

With that in mind, it’s not possible for the Kannistos to donate their locks very often. In recent years, Phoebe chopped her hair off in 2014, while Andre, Silas, and Emerson followed suit a year later in 2015. Their next big trim would take place in 2017, and this time all six Kannisto boys would take part.

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Image: Phoebe Kannisto via Inside Edition

In order to achieve this goal, the family had to wait until all of their manes were at the minimum length to donate. This required patience because, as Phoebe explained to HuffPost, “Everyone’s hair grows at different rates. So it took quite some time for everyone to be ready.”

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Image: Phoebe Kannisto via Inside Edition

Revealing how they got to the point of donating, in 2017 Phoebe told the Sweet Buffalo blog, “This was the triplets’ first haircut, so they’ve been growing theirs for five years. My three oldest sons donated two years ago, too. It took the twins two years to grow theirs back out. Andre has been growing his for a year (it grows fast) and I’ve been growing mine for a year and a half.”

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Image: Phoebe Kannisto via HuffPost

When the time came, the Kannistos ventured down to the Hizair Hair Salon in North Tonawanda, NY, where their hair was chopped free of charge. “They insisted on donating their time since we were donating our hair,” Phoebe explained to the HuffPost.

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Image: Phoebe Kannisto via HuffPost

In total, the six boys and their mom donated 17 feet of their hair to the noble cause. And according to Phoebe, the good deed made up for any teasing her boys had experienced. “After the haircuts, they were all beaming with pride,” she told Inside Edition in 2017. “It’s been four days and they’re still smiling.”

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Image: Phoebe Kannisto via Inside Edition

The brood got such a buzz out of helping children in need that they soon began planning their next donation. They hoped that this time it would be even more of a family affair, with youngest Kannisto, Marah Taylor, joining in too.

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Image: Phoebe Kannisto via Inside Edition

So following their trim, the Kannisto boys continued to grow out their hair, and this time around, they’ve turned a blind eye to bullies. “The boys have learned to grow thick skin,” Phoebe told Sweet Buffalo. “They’ve learned to ignore the ridicule.”

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Image: Phoebe Kannisto via Inside Edition

Now when the kind youngsters received comments about their locks, they simply explained why their hair was so long. However, that doesn’t always work. “Other children didn’t really seem to care, and the teasing continued,” Phoebe explained.

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But for every person who chose to taunt the Kannisto boys for their locks, there were no doubt plenty more who thought what they were doing was inspirational. “They also have some pretty amazing friends and family that have supported them from day one,” Phoebe admitted.

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