Every Wednesday at 5 a.m., 7-year-old Tucker Lanier climbs into the back seat of his family's Dodge Neon with his mom and step dad. The family then makes the three-hour drive to Atlanta for a treatment that is saving his life.
"He usually goes back to sleep around about Macon and sleeps until we get to Atlanta," said Tucker's mom, Casey Hurst.
Tucker, who has a rare genetic disorder known as Hunter Syndrome, has made six weekly trips to Emory University where he is injected with a new drug aimed at treating the symptoms of his disease.
There is no cure for Hunter Syndrome, which causes the organs to swell due to dead cells building up in the body, but Hurst and Tucker's dad, Clay Lanier, have seen marked improvement since beginning the infusions.
"After two weeks we noticed that his belly had reduced," Hurst said. "Now it's close to normal again."
Medicaid pays the entire $15,000 bill for Tucker's treatments, but the family struggles to come up with gas and food money for the weekly trips. And unless a nearby hospital starts to administer the medication, Tucker will likely have to make these trips for the rest of his life.
So, the stylists at Salon at Village Square, where Hurst gets her hair cut, decided to help. They were so moved by Tucker's story, they are trying to ease some of the family's financial strain.
"We're going to do haircuts for men and women [and] shampoo and styles," said stylist Aimee Lowery. "All the proceeds go to help [Lanier's family] with gas and food."
The cut-a-thon will take place Saturday, Sept. 20 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at 124 Savannah Ave. in Statesboro. Other Statesboro businesses have offered to help as well.
"The Historical Statesboro Inn will be catering lunch that day for all the supporters and The Candy Bouquet and The Healthy Touch Day Spa have made gracious contributions as well," Lowery said.
For her part, Hurst is thrilled and touched by the salon's generosity.
"I couldn't talk about it for a long time," Hurst said, "but now I want people to be aware of things like this. You never think this would happen to your child. I really appreciate the fact that they're trying to do something for us. That means a lot and I'm really excited."