Roper shows compassion with support

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, December 2, 2014

By Ngoc Vo

For Tammie Roper, taking care of her three children, her husband’s uncle and the house is more than a full-time job. However, that does not stop her from helping others in any way possible.

Roper was willing to sacrifice for a cause that is close to her heart, even if it means altering her look for a long time.

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“Last year alone, I shaved my head two times for two of my friends, one got breast cancer and the other got ovarian cancer,” Roper said.

“My mother, I lost her in my twenties to a rare form of cancer. I was so young I couldn’t get myself to shave my head. But if I could go back in time, I wish I had done it for her.”

Roper said she didn’t want her friends going through the battle fighting cancer alone and be bald by themselves.

“A lot of them get bald anyway, but for women, we want beauty from the outside,” she said. “We look at our hair and our makeup as part of our beauty… I got more compliments when I was bald than when I had hair.”

Her friend begged her not to shave her hair but the daughter called and told Roper that her mother wasn’t taking the news as well as she let on to others, Roper said.

The first time she shaved her hair, two of her children did so with her to show their support.

“The kids volunteered,” she said. “I was just going to do it myself and my youngest and oldest sons said they wouldn’t let me go it alone.”

For her other friend, when she learned that the cancer was developing, Roper and her sons died their hair hot pink to show support. They decided to shave their hair when the friend called, saying she was losing her hair also.

“Unless you come out to shave your hair for a friend with cancer, you wouldn’t understand the experience,” Roper said.

When Roper first mentioned shaving her head, most people didn’t believe she would go through with it, she said. However, her husband was more than supportive of her sacrifice for her friends. He even helped her finishing shaving her hair off.

“The day I decided to shave my head, I called my husband telling him that when he got home from work, I’d be bald,” Roper said. “And he said, ‘just do what you need to do.’”

Besides helping her friends and the people around her, Roper also has a passion for animals.

“I used to take in animals and help to find them good home,” Roper said. “But I tried to stop because I grew attached to them and found it hard to let them go.”

Roper said when she drove by a stray wooded animal, she would stop and give it food.

“Some people say we are not supposed to (feed the animals), but there is no sense in them starving and suffering,” she said.

Roper’s actions toward her friends and loved ones encourage in her children a sense of kindness and fellowship.

“My children, they will give you the shirt off their backs,” she said. “I love how willing they are to help people. But in the world as it is, I sometimes wonder if I had taught them wrong because some people may take advantage of the freedom of their hearts.”

However, Roper said the most important thing her and her husband try to show their children is still always be willing to give a helping hand to someone in need.