Arkansas Father Kevin Stokes Cuts His 10-Year-Old Dreadlocks to Support His One-Year-Old Daughter in Chemotherapy

The Stokes family live in Alabama but have been traveling back and forth to New York City for Nova’s cancer treatment. (Courtesy of Nicolette and Kevin Stokes)

An Arkansas father is showing his love and support for his 1-year-old daughter in a very special way.

Kevin Stokes, 32, of Conway, decided to shave off all his hair — dreadlocks that he’d been growing for the last 10 years — to match his younger daughter, Nova, who lost her own hair after starting chemotherapy two months ago.

Nova was diagnosed in March with stage 4 neuroblastoma, a type of cancer that can affect young children’s nerve cells, according to the National Cancer Institute. At the time, she was just 9 months old, and her parents would’ve never guessed the diagnosis she would receive when they noticed she didn’t seem like herself one day this past spring.

“All of that day, she [was] fine up until later that evening. She just seemed really tired,” Nova’s mother, Nicolette Stokes, told “Good Morning America.” “We noticed that her stomach was kind of swollen so we took her into the emergency room because she was nearly unresponsive. And yeah, when we got the news, honestly we were devastated.”

Kevin Stokes decided to cut off his dreads in May to support his younger daughter, Nova Stokes, as she underwent chemotherapy. (Courtesy of Nicolette and Kevin Stokes)
Nova previously had a full afro. When her hair started to fall out after her first round of chemotherapy, her parents decided to cut off the remainder of her hair. (Courtesy of Nicolette and Kevin Stokes)

“It was really a shock to us because we knew she wasn’t feeling well when we took her to the emergency room,” Kevin Stokes said. “I think cancer was really the last thing on our minds when we spoke with the doctors.”

The Stokes sought out support groups for parents who have kids with neuroblastoma and started researching options for Nova. They decided to give their second daughter the “best treatment possible,” and since May, Nova has been receiving treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

After her first round of chemotherapy back in April, Nova quickly started losing her hair. Even though Nicolette and Kevin Stokes said they knew it was something that could happen, it was still startling to witness.

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SOURCE: GMA, Yi-Jin Yu

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