Girls part with ponytails for charity |

Girls part with ponytails for charity

Gaia Merriman
Vail, CO Colorado
Dominique Taylor/Vail DailyThird grader Suady Solis, center right, gets a hand of support from fellow hair donator Hannah Gershenoff, center left, as they donate their ponytails to a charity that makes wigs for sick children.

EDWARDS ” After growing their hair out all year long, nine third graders at Edwards Elementary School cut it off for Locks of Love.

Jennifer Valle held her shorn ponytail out in triumph before an assembly crowd at Edwards Elementary School Friday morning. Then, one-by-one, the other girls had their ponytails cut by volunteer Catherine Kleinman of Bliss Studio.

The excitement felt by the girls was mirrored by the audience and squeals of delight were heard when the youngest participants, first graders Allie and Anna Pugmire, stepped up. The girls and their mother, EmRee Pugmire, joined the Locks of Love project because their brother and son, third grader Zach Pugmire, couldn’t grow his hair long enough to donate to the organization that makes wigs for children suffering from long-term medical hair loss.

Nell Snow put aside her fears when she began receiving letters of encouragement from a friend of her grandmother’s who had heard about the Locks of Love project she was participating in. The letters told the story of the woman’s granddaughter who was currently struggling with cancer.

Nell learned that the girl had lost her hair to the disease and was very self-conscious. The letters and story gave Nell the courage she needed and on Friday she donated 10 inches of her hair.

Another happy ending came for Hannah Gershenoff who desperately wanted to donate her hair but didn’t think she would have enough. Despite knowing that she would be left with the shortest hair, Hannah was thrilled to learn that she had just enough hair to donate.

The girls were first introduced to Locks of Love by fellow classmate Lindsay Sierant. After learning about Locks of Love the students decided to make hair growing a year-long project.

Jennifer Valle said she knew that she wanted to cut her hair for the kids who didn’t have any as soon as Lindsay brought up the idea.

Saudy Solis simply wanted to cut her hair because she knew that, “our hair will always grow back.” Pony tail in hand, Anabel Johnson said she felt “really lucky we had enough courage to grow it” and she and several other students entertained the possibility of one day meeting the people who would wear their hair.

In the end, 14 unique pony tails were held by students, parents, and staff

The girls’ courage may have started a new tradition at Edwards Elementary as numerous students from all different grades passed the girls and said that they too wanted to donate their hair.

As for the girls who donated their hair this year, they say they want to grow their hair out and do it again next year. This doesn’t surprise stylist Kleinman who says that a lot of people want to donate their hair to Locks of Love.

Locks of Love organization estimates that 80 percent of all donations that they receive come from children who wish to help other children.

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