Marcy Kelley liked her hair, as did her husband. Her blond locks even predated the arrival of her daughter, 11-year-old Emily Pugh, who joined her in getting their hair cut to benefit cancer patients and other people who lost their hair.
“Since shortly before she was born I’ve been growing my hair,” said Kelley, whose worried looks turned to smiles as her tresses were halved. “It’s a true sacrifice. Anybody can give money, but not everybody gives hair.”
The mother-daughter team were among 20 people in the area who have just donated to Locks of Love, which turns spare hairs into wigs for youths. Kelley and Pugh donated at Springdale Elementary, where one teaches and the other learns. Fifth-grader Ashton Haver launched a Locks for Love drive that even swept in several donors who didn’t have a connection to the school. Ashton’s 4-year-old sister, Ella Grace, even donated.
Three stylists and a technician from Changes Hair Salon & Day Spa donated their time to pull off the Springdale Elementary drive. Salon owner Lisa Felty said her best friend’s 7-year-old daughter donated her hair for Locks of Love. The girl, Summer Curry, was diagnosed just a month later with cancer that became terminal. “We’ve done it for many years now. It’s become a passion,” Felty said.
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The Springdale drive netted some 140 inches worth of hair. Fifth-grader Emily Childress, 10, lost three years’ worth of brunette hair, which had extended to her waist.
“There are other girls who need it more than me,” she said, testing her shoulder-length cut.
At Warner Robins High School on Friday, seven students, teachers and community members also donated hair to Locks of Love.
Randi Collier, a chemistry teacher at Warner Robins High, has been organizing the event there since 2005 in response to Joanna McAfee, who Collier knew personally.
Joanna died from alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare childhood cancer, in December of that year at the age of 6. A video for the Joanna McAfee Childhood Cancer Foundation was presented at the event before the participants had their hair cut.
“The children inspire me with their dedication and willingness to give,” Collier said. “It’s not always something you see in teens today.”
Sherry Freyer, a math teacher at Warner Robins High, was among the seven who donated hair to Locks of Love at the event. As the first piece was cut, Collier exclaimed, “Ooh, she’s got some thick hair! Goodness! Anyone got a chain saw?”
The newly cut section of hair was passed to Freyer, and she twirled the piece with her hand.
“It was invigorating,” Freyer said afterward. “I was ready for it.”
Freyer, who had 10 inches of length cut from her hair, said her aunt died of melanoma, and several of her students have succumbed to cancer through the years.
“It was the least I could do,” she said. “It’s just hair. It grows.”