COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A nine-year friendship between two Columbia women became something much deeper when mom Jordan found out her son, Jackson, was diagnosed with cancer at 18 months old.
“We went to his 18-month doctor appointment and we found out there that he had a mass on his right testicle,” Jordan Nichols, a mother and teacher, said.
The diagnosis revealed a stage one yolk-sac tumor that would require Jackson to have surgery. “We were lost,” she revealed after the news came, “As a parent, you don’t ever think you will hear a doctor say ‘Hey, your child has cancer.’”
Enter, Lauren Still.
Lauren, also a teacher, has known Jordan and her husband Matthew for nine years and has seen how deeply childhood cancer affects families.
Still said she first donated her hair in 2014 for St. Baldrick’s, a pediatric cancer research foundation that has a local chapter in South Carolina. She said going to the St. Baldrick’s events and raising money for pediatric cancer research gave her a new outlook on giving back.
Fast forward to 2020 and Still had signed up to donate her hair again. Two days later, Jackson was diagnosed with cancer.
“Words can’t express how terrified and worried everyone was,” Still said, “I decided then, if that was the cards they [Jordan and Matthew] were dealt, then I would do the donation in honor of him.”
Lauren said she’s raised over $4,000 this year, a triumph in a world struck by a pandemic, and cut off 22 inches of hair.
“My love for Jordan and Matthew made it – without a question – that’s what was going to happen.”
Jordan and Lauren, now bonded in this journey together, have been able to breathe a sigh of relief now as Jackson is in remission and turning 2 years old in November.
“I can’t thank her enough,” Nichols said of her friend. “I’ll never be able to thank her enough for what she did and to put her act in honor of Jackson. It means the world.”