Community goes to great lengths for cancer patients
November 7, 2012
There were few dry eyes Nov. 4 at Eastlake High School when 19 people said goodbye to their long hair and donated it to the American Cancer Society.
Hosted by local Girl Scout troops from Inglewood Middle School, Mead Elementary and Smith Elementary, the group of donors varied just as much as the color of their ponytails.
Cooper Williams, 11, has been growing out his hair for the last two years. Come cutting time, he let his brother and his sister, as well as his best friend take a whack.
After it was all said and done, Cooper, with his new buzz cut, said his head was cold.
“It’s a lot different now that I have it all gone,” he said, rubbing his scalp where his long locks used to be. “But it’s hair and it will grow back and then I’m probably just going to do this again.”
Cooper went first to kick off the event and before long 18 pairs of scissors were snapping away at ponytails. Hailey Kraus, 9, was happy to cut the hair of her best friend, Presley Scholz. Kristy Iacono let her children do the cutting.
For Kim Buckmaster, it had been 30 to 40 years since she had thought about going short.
“It’s always been below my waist,” she said, explaining that she was compelled to make the change after her niece was diagnosed with breast cancer in August.
“She called one morning and said that she was crying because all her hair fell out and she woke up with this pile of hair on her bed,” said Buckmaster. “So I thought ‘this is time.’”
Beautiful Lengths events are part of a campaign to collect hair to make wigs that are distributed to cancer patients at no cost. To donate, hair must be at least eight inches long, have less than 5 percent gray and can’t have been colored with permanent hair dye or bleach.
Allison Grassi, who leads two of the Girl Scout troops responsible for the event, said she still needs another half inch before she can donate her own hair. Grassie expects her ponytail will be long enough for the next Sammamish beautiful lengths event, which could come as soon as spring on the annual Plateau Pink Day.
“We want it to be truly a community event, not just our Girl Scout troops,” she said. “We want everyone involved.”
Grassie explained that she and her Girl Scouts were inspired to host an event like this after hearing about a high school that had made it a yearly community event, drawing in almost 300 hair donors.
“It’s interesting. You’d expect the young girls with the really long hair to say ‘sure, I’ll donate, why not?’ But some of them are like ‘no, my hair,’” said Grassie. “Then we talk to them more and more and they realize, ‘oh, my hair is really important to me – can you imagine what the hair is like for those that don’t have any hair.’”
For more information on the national beautiful lengths campaign visit www.goingtobeautifullengths.com.
Reporter Lillian O’Rorke can be reached at 392-6434, ext. 242 or firstname.lastname@example.org.