Mother and son duo, Melanie and Matt Shaha from Arizona, have been giving the internet major warm and fuzzy feels.
It was revealed that Mr. Shaha grew his hair out for two years, then paid $2,000 to have it cut off and turned into a wig for his sweet mom who is battling cancer.
Melanie Shaha shared her story with TODAY, explaining that her cancer was first discovered in 2003 after a series of unsettling headaches.
Doctors discovered a tumor in her brain and sprang into action to remove it quickly.
“I had surgery to remove the tumor, and I had a really great outcome,” Melanie told TODAY.
Unfortunately, that tumor which was the size of a plum was affecting her pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is the area of the brain that controls hormones.
Doctors performed surgery to remove it in 2006 and 2017.
Although doctors had reassured Melanie that her hair wouldn’t fall out, she shared with TODAY that she experienced a big shed and lost most of her locks.
“Not having hair, you stick out like a sore thumb, and well-meaning people can say things that break your heart,” she told TODAY. ”
I don’t mind being sick, but I mind looking sick. I’d rather blend in and not stand out at the store.”
And that’s where our story takes a beautiful turn.
“A year ago, I started working at Roots Management Company with one of the most generous humans I’ve ever known, Matt Shaha.
I didn’t know it at the time, but I was in the presence of one of the funniest and kindest humans I’ve ever met,” Mercedes Berg, the brilliant and talented photographer behind these heartwarming images, tells Filter Free Parents.
“Needless to say, we quickly became friends.”
Berg shares that one of the first questions that Matt asked his new colleague was what kinds of products she uses on her hair to make it grow so fast.
“Matt was on a two-year journey to grow his hair out for his mom, who had lost her hair due to radiation,” Berg says.
By March 2022, Matt’s hair had finally grown 12 inches, making it long enough for a professional wigmaker to turn his locks into a beautiful creation for his mom.
“He asked if I could document their journey, and on that day when they cut his hair, I struggled to even take photos because I was whipping away so many tears,” Berg says.
“I would say it’s one of the most beautiful and breathtaking moments I’ve ever experienced.”
“After meeting Melanie, Matt’s mom, it was so easy to see why he is the incredible human that he is,” Berg shares.
“Melanie also pours this enlightenment and incredible character into the room when you meet her.”
There are many stories online about cancer survivors and the epic battles they’ve fought, and they are each beautiful and important.
But there is something tangibly poignant about capturing some of the most vulnerable parts of that journey through the lens of a camera.
“When people review their photos, one of the biggest compliments I receive is, ‘They made me cry!'” Berg tells Filter Free Parents.
“The pure emotion and ability to bring a story to life, capture a moment, and share my art with photos is a huge accomplishment for me. I’ve always had the gift for gab, and during my photoshoots, it is no different.
I really love to learn more about people’s stories, why they want photos, how they got there, and the significant impacts on their lives.
After understanding their story, I sometimes find myself crying while editing photos and pour a little extra love into the process.”
We are in love with the Shaha family and deeply moved and inspired by Berg’s talented eye. To see more of Berg’s work, check out Mercedes Berg Photography.