(CBS4) – A 9-year-old boy got a haircut recently, but not just any haircut.

Matthew Contreras has been growing his hair for 3 years.

Matthew Contreras

Matthew Contreras (credit: CBS)

It’s a gift, in memory of his brother.

Lovely flowing locks … the mane is a major accomplishment for Matthew.

“I’m so very proud of him,” said DJ Contreras, Matthew’s father.

“The fact that he did this and hung in there, that was really hard for him, at times, to do,” said Rita Contreras, his mother.

His effort finally paid off.

“The hair goes all the way to 14,” said stylist Alex Garcia, as she measured the length at her Alux Hair Studio in Denver.

Fourteen inches was the goal.

Now, Matthew can give his tresses to someone else.

“I’ve been doing this for a kid with cancer,” he told CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.
And he’s been doing it in honor of Nathaniel.

(credit: Contreras Family)

Matthew was a baby when his 6-year-old brother was diagnosed with bone cancer.

Matthew was 4 when Nathaniel died.

His family started the nonprofit Team Nathaniel. But donating his hair was all Matthew’s idea.

“Now, a person that is sad that they lost their hair will be able to get hair,” he explained.

Matthew isn’t sorry to see it go, he’s had enough of knots and tangles.

He’s excited as each braid is snipped.

They’ll be sent to the nonprofit Wigs for Kids.

“I haven’t seen that face in a long time,” said Rita.

And Matthew’s new buzz cut may confuse his friends.

“Soccer team’s going to say ‘Who’s the new guy on the team?’,” said DJ with a laugh.

But he’s the same Matthew, the boy who went to great lengths to honor his big brother.

(credit: Contreras Family)

“I think Nathaniel would be really proud,” said Rita.