Trevor Foster, an Indiana sixth-grader, was initially told he couldn’t try out for his school’s basketball team unless he got rid of his pink mohawk. The hairdo is meant to honor the boy’s mother, who is battling breast cancer.
The incident caused public outcry after the 11-year-old’s father posted about the story on Facebook, but Clifty Creek Elementary’s principal has since reversed her decision to bar the boy from tryouts.
“It made me feel furious and sad all at the same time,” Trevor told Fox 59. “You feel special because you know you are supporting.”
Pink is more than just a color to this family. All three Foster children have chosen special hairstyles to support their mother who was diagnosed with breast cancer a year ago: Jairis, a 9-year-old girl girl, has pink highlights, while her brothers Caleb and Trevor sport distinctive pink mohawks with a breast cancer ribbon design shaved into the side.
Since her diagnosis, Stacy Foster has undergone several surgeries, including one earlier this week, according to RTV6. The support of her sons and daughter is what helps to keep her going.
“They’ve seen more than kids should ever see,” she said. “They have been supportive more than anyone will ever know, and they know what it is to do laundry, and to see their mom so sick, but they also know that we make the best of our good days.”
If forced to pick between a team and his hair, Trevor said he’d always choose the haircut. “I would not play the sport, I would keep the Mohawk,” he said. “I would rather support her than do any sports.”
Luckily for Trevor, it doesn’t seem like he’ll have to make the decision after all.
After the run-in with principal Cynthis Frost, Trevor’s father, Tamage, took the issue to Facebook, posting pictures of his sons’ hair. He also called as many school board officials as he could find, ABC News reports.
The approach worked, and the family has since received an apologetic phone call from the principal, who reversed her earlier decision about the basketball tryouts and offered to him to help him organize a breast cancer research fundraiser.
This isn’t the first time Trevor has been in trouble for pink attire. Last year he was told to turn his pink shirt inside out and give up a “I Love Boobies” bracelet, Tamage told ABC.
Julian Connerton of Egg Harbor, N.J., found himself in a similar situation earlier this month, after his youth football coach told him he wouldn’t be allowed to play wearing pink gloves meant to honor his mother, who recently had a double mastectomy, according to a separate ABC News report.
After the case made national headlines, the football team reversed its decision, and Julian rejoined the team.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month in the United States, and many professional sports leagues, including the NFL, pay tribute with pink uniform accents. According to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, this year it is estimated there will be 226,870 new cases of invasive breast cancer.