Big Brother Lets Sister With Cancer Shave His Head so She Doesn't Have to Go Through It Alone

Kristin Bowden Photography

kristin bowden
Kristin Bowden Photography

Having a child go through the perils of fighting a rare disease is inarguably one of the scariest, hardest things a family can endure. But for the Bowden family, when 3-year-old daughter Lula Beth was diagnosed with a rare kidney cancer, it brought many beautiful moments -- including showcasing the true and deep love between her and big brother Kohen.

  • Of course, that doesn't mean their journey was anything close to sunshine and rainbows.

    lula bowden strong
    Kristin Bowden Photography

    "The month of March was a long, messy one," mom and photographer Kristin Bowden tells CafeMom. "She was a super healthy child, rarely got sick. But March took a turn for the worse."

    Lula Beth was sick constantly. Over the course of six doctors appointments in March alone, she was given a few UTI diagnosis, the flu, RSV and was even told at her last regular appointment that she had "a little bug that would go away." 

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  • Kristin and husband Dakota's instincts, however, told them they knew something more was going on. 

    dakota and family.
    Kristin Bowden

    They took her to the emergency room to get more extensive testing done, and sure enough, their daughter had a football-sized tumor on her left kidney. 

    Lula Beth was sent to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, where she stayed for almost two weeks.

  • The toddler underwent a six-hour surgery, removing the whole tumor and kidney.

    kristina and lula
    Kristin Bowden

    It was then they received the results that it was Stage 2 Wilms', a pediatric kidney cancer.

    "We were taught all about each cell, all about cancer, side effects and chemotherapy," Kristin recalls. "I returned home expecting the worst."

  • However, as heartbreaking as the diagnosis was, Kristin said her family, especially Lula Beth, remained resilient. 

    lula beth and family
    Kristin Bowden

    "Little Lula Beth has been a champ throughout the whole journey," boasts mom. "She has only gotten sick one time from chemo, and has completed 11 rounds thus far. It has brought our family closer together enduring a trial like this!"

  • The Bowdens were committed to being open and honest with both their kids about everything, and tried to prep her for when she may lose her hair. 

    Kristin Bowden's kids
    Kristin Bowden Photography

    After the 11th round, her hair was coming off in clumps, so they told her it had to go "very short." Without really batting an eye, Lula Beth said "Let's do it tonight!" ... and so did her big brother, Kohen.

  • In an effort to make it a "special" occasion, the family decided to take her to her favorite spot in the mountains. 

    lula shaves her hair
    Kristin Bowden Photography

    "Kohen didn't even blink an eye and said she could shave his too so she didn't have to endure it alone," Kristin says. "I don't think it ever really was even a question with him. He just knew as soon as sissy had to shave hers, he would shave his as well."

  • Kristin says Kohen has asked questions here and there, but it really opened him up to have a level of compassion that's genuinely moving.

    shaved head
    Kristin Bowden Photography

    "Watching him with his sister now melts my heart," Kristin adds. "He definitely babies her more now and never wants her to feel anything but normal."

  • When Lula Beth learned her brother was shaving his head too and that she got to do it, she couldn't have been more excited. 

    little family
    Kristin Bowden Photography

    "She got to do her brother's that same night as hers," Kristin explains.

    When she was done withe the task, Lula Beth couldn't help but to rub his head and plant little kisses on it.

  • Kohen wasn't the only one who showed support for the little girl. 

    lula shaves dad's head
    Kristin Bowden Photography

    "[She got to shave] her dad's the next night and then about six other family members the end of that week too," Kristin says. "She has had a ton of support."

  • Currently, Lula Beth is set to have her last chemotherapy treatment in August. 

    Kristin Bowden Photography

    Although the future is unknown, doctors are cautiously optimistic about her prognosis. 

    And as far as Kristin goes, she wants parents going through the same trials to keep pushing. 

    "Kids are so resilient," she says."They are so strong! They aren't in this alone. This is one of the hardest trials a parent could be given, but it will make you stronger as a person, parent and a family. It changes your whole outlook on life."