Saturday, May 2, 2009

Locks of Love Donation

Yesterday I helped out at a Locks of Love Donation at Highland Junior High. And I got in the news! I am in the video and I am in the background in the picture in the story. Here is a link to the video and the story.

Video Link: VIDEO: Locks of Love event


Highland Junior High School students Jenna Hall, 14, right, and Jon Martin, 14, have their hair cut after both agreed to donate 10 inches of their hair to Locks of Love. May 1, 2009 in Mesa.

Highland Junior High School students Jenna Hall, 14, right, and Jon Martin, 14, have their hair cut after both agreed to donate 10 inches of their hair to Locks of Love. May 1, 2009 in Mesa.





Tim Hacker, Tribune


Eighth-grader Veronica Contreras smiled as a stylist cut off 12 inches of her long, black hair Friday in a hallway of Highland Junior High School. It was her first real haircut, other than cutting off split ends, and her parents were nearby taking photos of the event.


"I needed a haircut and thought a lot of people would need it, so I decided to donate it to Locks of Love," said Veronica, 13, whose hair still fell down to the middle of her back after the cut.


Veronica was one of 20 Gilbert Unified School District students and a teacher who spent the morning at their southeast Mesa school getting free haircuts for a good cause. Two male students were among the hair donors.


The hallway was turned into a makeshift hair salon as two volunteer stylists spent more than two hours cutting hair. The hair will be used to make hairpieces for children suffering from long-term medical hair loss.


Seventh-grade student body president Natalee Lauro spent the year organizing the event with her good friend and seventh-grade "assistant," Heather McKendrick. Heather donated seven inches of her long, blonde hair.


Natalee is a brain cancer survivor, and although she didn't know about the Locks of Love organization until her hair started growing back, it's an organization she believes in.


A similar event was also held in March at Superstition Springs Elementary School in her honor.


"This organization is close to my heart," said Natalee, who wore a "cancer sucks" T-shirt. "I promised myself I would contribute. I've met a lot of people who have donated, and they've always come back with a big smile. It's something I've always wanted to be a part of."


Natalee was in second grade at Superstition Springs Elementary when doctors discovered aggressive, malignant brain tumors, or medulla blastoma. A fall during basketball jarred the biggest tumor and caused it to grow, which brought on the symptoms.


After enduring "really bad" headaches, Natalee had her first surgery on Christmas Eve 2003 to remove some of the tumor. After another surgery and aggressive rounds of chemotherapy, Natalee said she is cancer free. Doctors told her they won't say if she's in remission until she's 17 years old.


"But I don't think it's coming back," said Natalee, who is still trying to overcome balance problems after the brain surgeries.


Volunteer hairstylist Denice Cavanagh said she was more than happy to volunteer her hair-cutting skills. She has known Natalee since second grade when her daughter, Montana, was in the same class.


"I've been her biggest cheerleader," said Cavanagh, whose husband, Tim, grew out his hair so Natalee could cut it and donate it. "We hope we can do something to help other children be as strong as she's been. To have all these kids here means so much."


The other volunteer hairstylist, Gilbert High graduate Sara Randall, said she has given at least 30 free cuts to her clients donating their hair to Locks of Love. She owns a hair studio under her name in Gilbert.


"It's great to help those people feel good about themselves," Randall said. "It's also a great way to give back to the community."


Kristin Alexander-Lillard is the lone Highland Junior High teacher who donated 10 inches of hair Friday. She was Natalee's second-grade physical education teacher and said she has a special connection with Natalee.


"She's just the sweetest little thing, and she wants to do anything she can for everybody else," said Alexander-Lillard, who was donating for the second time.


"It's such a great cause," she said. "When you're ready for a change, why not give it to Locks of Love?"


Locks of Love is a public nonprofit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis. Many hairstylists will give free haircuts to people donating to Locks of Love. For information, visit www.locksoflove.org or talk with a hairstylist.


2 comments:

Endless Possibilities said...

Go Sara! That is super cool! Way to go! You looked so hard at work in the background!

Rogers Family said...

Wow, you are just so awesome. I think it is so wonderful that you are willing to share your talent with other for such a good cause. You go girl!