Hairless and happy: Boy with cancer inspires McKinney siblings


Published: 03/21/2014

by McKinney Courier-Gazette


Damon Billeck, a 9-year-old with bone cancer, is happy.

And two siblings are happy to be by his side – hundreds of miles away.

McKinney Boyd student Morgan Souder and her younger brother, Colton, recently cut their hair to show their support. They’ve never met Damon, of San Antonio, but they’ve pledged their companionship.

Morgan, 16, last week had 11 inches of her trademark brown hair chopped off for Locks of Love, an organization that makes wigs for children who’ve lost their hair because of cancer. She hadn’t cut her hair since she was 9.

“He’s just a kid,” said Morgan, who donated hair to Locks of Love once before. “It’s like my little brother having cancer.”

Colton, 12, doesn’t have cancer, but he also feels for Damon. His recent hair cut wasn’t as dramatic, but still meaningful.

“I thought it was really sad, especially for someone his age,” Colton said.

The siblings found out about Damon’s situation through their mother, Teri, a friend of Damon’s father, Brian Billeck. News of Damon’s school shaving their heads prompted them toward the salon.

Dawn Trimble, their hair stylist, has cut the Souders’ hair most of their lives. She echoed Teri in appreciating Morgan’s boldness.

“She loves her hair,” Teri said, as Trimble got the clippers out. “It’s her way of helping someone when she couldn’t help him any other way.”

Damon, diagnosed with osteosarcoma, this week underwent a third round of chemotherapy. Doctors have told him he’ll need to have his left arm amputated. His family – Brian, mother Lisa, twin sister Dara, and brothers Stephen and Brandon – is there for him.

Damon recently asked his father why everyone was suddenly praying for him and sending him gifts. He wondered why Brian and Lisa cried at times. As he has for others, Damon urged their tears away with his positivity.

“Sometimes I wonder if it’s us giving him strength or the other way around,” Brian said.

Family and friends have learned to embrace today and look forward to tomorrow. Damon’s innocent outlook helps others through his plight.

Morgan’s hair won’t be a cure, but it will be enough to make four wigs for other cancer-stricken children, Teri said. Though Damon won’t be the direct recipient, Morgan’s donation was in his honor.

She and Colton also encourage Damon through frequent video messages, much like one he received last month from Pharrell Williams, a popular R&B artist. Upon hearing about Damon’s story – and that his favorite song was Williams’ Billboard No. 1 hit song, “Happy” – the singer sent him a YouTube video expressing his support.

“It uplifts us all,” Brian said of the song. “Whenever I am alone in the car and hear it, it puts a smile on my face.”

A trust fund has been created for Damon as he continues his fight. Teri has reached out to the Texas Rangers to see if they’ll join in the support, which seems to grow each day.

While their hearts break for Damon, he remains positive. Brian told Teri his son has shed few tears in recent weeks. After all, “Happy” is his theme song.

Those around him can hear the tune loud and clear.

“When I’m sad, I just think about what he’s going through,” Morgan said, her once-beloved locks beside her. “It pushes me to be happy.”