Hair connects mother, daughter
When Shannon Mathieu, 35, was a teenager, she hated the fact that her mother wouldn’t let her have long hair, and she spent the next 20 years letting it grow long.But Thursday, amid tears, she allowed it to be cut quite short during a cutting for Locks of Love, a nonprofit organization that supplies wigs made of human hair to children suffering from long-term medical hair loss. The charitable event was held at Cuts & Tans in Edwards and Mathieu, who donated 12 inches, was one of several men and women with hair to spare.Mathieu started growing her hair as a means of rebelling against parental authority, but losing her locks Thursday was more than an act of generosity. For her it became a means of remembering her mother who five years ago, at age 56, died after a decades-long struggle with ovarian cancer.”She never would let me have long hair when I was in school,” she said. “I stopped cutting it when I was a senior. I grew it to spite her but cut it off for her.”It’s taking a little getting used to,” she Friday of her new doo. “I like it.”It took “just seconds” to lose her hair, Mathieu said. “They let me kiss it good-bye,” she added.It took a convergence of situations for Mathieu to reach the decision to cut her hair, she said.”I’ve thought about cutting my hair for a long time,” she said. “It was really hard. When I read about (Locks of Love) in the paper, I thought it must be fate.”She grew closer to her mother during the final months of her life, Mathieu said.”She endured chemo and radiation, and was active right up to the end.” she said. “I’m sure she was watching and was very proud.”Mathieu moved to the valley three years ago at the urging of her sister, Kim Mathieu, and works as a breakfast and banquet server at the Grouse Mountain Grill in Beaver Creek.As a single parent, she’s beginning to recognize – as her mother did -the practicality of having short hair.”It’s a lot quicker to get ready for work in the morning,” she said. “I’m glad I did it.”The Locks of Love effort was spearheaded by the Vail Valley Charitable Foundation who lined up sponsors spending $10 per inch for the donated hair.Cliff Thompson can be reached via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 949-0555 ext. 450.