Mum with ovarian cancer lets four-year-old daughter give her 'chemo hair cut'

Photo: Emilie Orton / Instagram
Photo: Emilie Orton / Instagram 

When 32-year-old US mum Emilie Orton was diagnosed with stage two ovarian cancer earlier this year, she knew she would have to face losing her hair.

She was told by her oncologist that it might be challenging for her young children to process having a bald mum... so she decided to involve her four-year-old daughter Norah, whom she enlisted to give her a "chemo hair cut."

"Right before I started chemo, my doctor said, 'remember this is emotional for your kids too. You're not the only one going through it,'" she told TODAY Parents. "He suggested I find a way to involve them."

Norah was more than happy to play hairdresser for her mother. Emilie describes her daughter as "so into hair stuff."

"She'll notice details like someone's glittery eye shadow. She doesn't get it from me," she quipped.


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Posting a sweet video to Instagram titled "The Fancy Cancy Haircut - Properly done by a four-year-old," Emilie is filmed as Norah snips haphazardly away at her hair.

The video is accompanied by amusing captions like, "I'm kind of scared for my ear's life," and "My personal favourite hack job."

"It was way more happy and positive than I could have ever imagined. You can make funny things out of sad situations," she said. "Norah was so pleased with herself. She wanted to keep going."


Even her seven-year-old son Cole, who had been struggling with his mum losing her hair, could see the funny side of Norah's hairdressing efforts.

"If you were anyone above age 4, you knew it looked horrible," Emilie joked.

People posted comments of support on the video.

"This is amazing. I can only imagine how traumatic it might've been for both you and her to show up with a bald head so to make it a bonding moment is so clever and joyful. Way to go mum! You're gonna kick cancers a%@!"

Others could relate.

"Oh beautiful! This was me and my daughter a week or so ago too! Thank you for sharing and telling it how it is!"

Her husband Nick then took the reigns with the clippers, taking off the very last of Emilie's hair.

Norah was not impressed, however, saying, "Mum I liked my haircut I gave you... but the haircut Dad gave you looks weird. I can't play pretend with you unless you put on a wig and look good."

Her toddler Remi, "... loves how it feels and keeps rubbing her hand on it like a lucky Buddha belly."

Emilie says she hopes "to be cured" after she receives her final chemotherapy treatment on Christmas Eve.


[Tap on the IGTV icon in the bottom left to see the full frame and captions.] Norah: ‘Mom I liked my haircut I gave you.. but the haircut Dad gave you looks weird. I can’t play pretend with you unless you put on a wig and look good’ Cole: avoids looking at my me, and then just keeps saying, ‘It’s just so baaaaald I can’t look at it!’ He’s been really struggling with this whole thing. Remi: loves how it feels and keeps rubbing her hand on it like a lucky Buddha belly. We’ve had all the reactions. And still double-take when I wake up again every morning. Hopefully we get used to it soon. Because it’s a pretty big shock factor. We keep talking about how it means that chemo is working and cancer is leaving. Bald is good. The good bald. Is there a good bald? Let’s call this the good bald haircut.

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