Back in the summer of 1999, I was at a wedding and had one of those moments in which I felt like a total ass-hat. One of my brother Mark's best friends was a groomsman along with my brother. Frankie was Frankie and on his motorcycle in his tuxedo with his goatee and crazy long hair. I'm not talking about his awesome hockey hair mullet of his youth. I can remember my eye-rolling thought of, "Really, Frankie? That hair?"
Later that evening, my sister told me that she had been talking to him. He told her that he was planning to donate some of those locks. In that instant, with that piece of information, I had that moment when "Don't judge a book by its cover" really hit home. It was an epiphany for me; a mirror being held up to show me myself and put me in my place.
And, that was when I decided to follow Frankie's lead. For almost 17 years now, I have gone through the cycles of growing and donating my hair 5 times. As 2016 starts, I have decided I would make my 6th and final donation. With that, I decided to go big and not just chop off some hair.
On June 2nd, 2006, Frankie Soltesz died in a horrifying and sudden way. For many people, the news story of his death was the only way they "knew" Frankie. Fortunately, I was witness to the real Frankie. He was truly the best friend a person could have and I'm grateful he was that for Mark.
Every donation I have ever made was done with Frankie on my mind and that lesson about not being so quick with judgment and criticism.