Kamryn Renfro is an incredibly thoughtful little girl. Just in Grade 3, she decided to shave her head this past weekend in solidarity with a friend who has been struggling with childhood cancer since she was 7. Delaney Clements is now 11, and Kamryn wanted to support her friend as she went through the loss of her hair. This little girl shaved her head to support her cancer-stricken friend, and officials at Caprock Academy, the school Kamryn attends, barred her from attending because she violated school dress codes.
Rules definitely exist for a reason, and rules exist at Caprock Academy in Grand Junction, Colorado. What sort of message, though, is being sent to Kamryn and Delaney about support and believing in a cause? Kamryn did a very sweet thing to show her friend that she cared, and what support did her school – the place where every child should feel safe, regardless of belief or how they want to show support for something – show her? They barred her from coming for a day until they could decide what to do with her.
It is hard to believe that a young girl who so badly wanted to show some support for her friend that she shaved her head would be deemed a problem under school codes of conduct. Childhood cancers are extremely challenging for all parts of the patient’s life, and the fact that Delaney Clements has such a good friend in young Kamryn Renfro is no doubt an incredible source of support for her. The rare nature of Delaney’s cancer – a neuroblastoma – likely only makes the 11-year-old feel more fortunate to have a friend like Kamryn in her life.
The Caprock Academy Board of Directors, in voting 3-1 Tuesday to reinstate Kamryn as a student, said they believed Kamryn was taking on “an extraordinary cause worthy of our highest regard.” The one vote against reinstatement was from a board of directors member who was concerned about the precedent the exception would set.
What Kamryn is doing is truly worth high regard, but the Board of Directors is merely paying lip service to something they should have been proud to salute. They missed the point of what Kamryn was trying to do, and in doing so, demonstrated the chief problem with so many bureaucracies today.
The Caprock Academy Board of Directors should have applauded Kamryn, a student who shaved her head for her cancer-stricken friend Delaney, but instead, the school became bogged down in rules. Every organization needs rules and structure, and a school is no exception. However, there needs to be exceptions for most rules, and given that this particular student was so bighearted that she decided to shave her head in support of another, sick student, there should have been an exception made. Furthermore, the exception should have been made before Kamryn was barred from attending school, not after.
Kamryn and Delaney are two young friends, and Delaney is in the fight of her life. Make no mistake about it; neuroblastoma is incredibly serious, as cancers go, and while the prognosis can be good, the bigger issue lays in the fact that this is a recurrence of the condition for Delaney. That means her treatment is likely going to be more aggressive. It is a heck of a thing to see this young girl, who has so much ahead of her, embroiled in a fight where she has undergone the loss of her hair – a traumatic event for any cancer patient, not just a child.
Kamryn has made it clear that she wants to do anything possible to help her friend, and as the student who shaved her head for her cancer-stricken friend, she has brought renewed focus to the issue of childhood cancer and the stress it puts on the patient, friends and family. She did the one tangible thing that occurred to her to help her friend; she shaved her head. She, and her friend Delaney, should be applauded for their bravery, and their parents should be incredibly proud.
By Christina St-Jean
My News 3