Locks of hope
And with one clip of the scissors, Diana Baker, owner of Just Cuts Plus in Eagle, cuts 12-year-old Wilson’s mane beyond the neck.
“Keegan, this is great for softball season,” Lisa Hammond tells her sixth-grade daughter as Paula Martin of Just Cuts in Avon trims her hair to a bob.
For two hours Tuesday the lobby at the school turns into a hair salon with four haircuts going on at the same time.
“Your hair looks so cool, Ms. Farrell,” the children tell Susan Farrell, a sixth-grade teacher, who also lost her locks and now wears a chin-length bob.
Martin braids Keegan’s hairpiece and puts it in a plastic bag with her name.
The braided hairpieces will go to Locks of Love, a Florida-based nonprofit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children under the age of 18 with medical hair loss. The organization, which began in 1997, so far has helped more than 650 children across the country.
“Wigs are very expensive, and most insurance won’t pay for them,” Farrell said.
Melissa Hall, a seventh-grade teacher who had lymphoma and lost her hair after chemotherapy, said she bought two wigs. One cost $600; the other one, made of natural hair, was $900.
“I was told the insurance would cover it – but it didn’t,” she says. “Hair loss was one of the most traumatic parts of being sick.”
Farrell organized the donation. Hairdressers Baker, Martin, Sandi Leary of Market Street Barbor in Eagle and Jodie Cox of House of Hair in Eagle donated their time to do the haircuts.
“My hair will grow back; theirs will take a while,” says Wilson, admiring the 8-inch-long braid made with her hair.
This is Keegan’s second donation. Two years ago she had the idea to do it after her mother told her she saw it on TV.
“She came to me and said she wanted to do it,” Leary said. “She’s grown it in the past two years so she can donate it again.”
Between cuts, Cox measures Amy Strakbein’s hair to see if it was long enough to get 10 inches cut.
“I’m sorry, it’s too short,” Cox says.
“I’ll do it next year,” Strakbein says, looking disapointed but somewhat relieved.
Jessica Nevin, 12, paces the lobby trying to make up her mind.
“I’ve been growing my hair since I’m 5,” she says. “I also have a dance recital next week. But I’ll do it next year.”
Nine girls signed up to donate hair, Farrell says, but as the braids started to cover the table, another half dozen girls enlisted after getting permission from their parents.
“I though it was going to be the other way around and that the girls would back out,” Farrell says.
Eagle Valley Middle School Principal Jerry Santoro is among the supporting audience.
“I’m very proud of them,” he says. “These girls have some courage to do this at an age when looks are so important. But what’s great about this is how they’re supporting each other.”
Curious boys also stop by to check the new looks.
“I think it’s awesome; it’s sweet,” says Matt Barker, 13, of Eagle. “They still look the same.”
Veronica Whitney can be reached at (970) 949-0555 ext. 454 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.