By Meagan Steed
Students from St. Joseph Academy have been donating their long locks of hair annually for three years. On May 21, the all-day donation was held in the meeting room at St. Joseph Academy, and the girls who donated their hair received a free cut and style by stylists from Options Salon & Spa.
Senior Kelsi McCafferty and her mother, Linda McCafferty, created the event three years ago when trying to determine how they could contribute to the fight against cancer. Originally, Kelsi had asked her soccer teammates to contribute their hair, and her mother recruited the help of friend and Options Salon & Spa stylist Celinda Notarberardino. Eventually, the entire school caught wind of the donation, and it was turned into an all-day event.
“Everybody is touched by cancer in some way,” Linda said. “The girls get an idea and the school is so supportive of them.”
The girls have the choice of donating their hair to either Locks of Love or Wigs for Kids, which is located in Westlake. Locks of Love creates hairpieces for financially disadvantaged children who have suffered any illness resulting in hair loss. Many of the children are suffering from alopecia areata, which is a medical condition that has no known cause or cure.
Wigs for Kids was founded by Jeffrey Paul more than 30 years ago after his niece was diagnosed with leukemia. This nonprofit organization creates hand-tied prostheses for children and adults to help them feel good about themselves when they are in the midst of a medical crisis.
“We are an organization for any child who has hair loss,” said Divina Elan, program director of Wigs for Kids. “It’s not just about the hairpiece; it’s about the self-esteem we are creating.”
Of the nine girls who donated at the event, several of them have donated their hair previously. Freshman Mary Beth Keck was donating her hair for the third time, and is planning to donate again once her hair reaches the desired donation length of at least 10 inches.
“My grandma went through cancer and she lost her hair,” Keck said. “I think it would be awful for a kid to go through school bald, and I don’t need all of that hair.”
Each girl was put in the hands of one of the five Options stylists for a 45-minute cut and style. Due to location restrictions, girls were asked to come with their hair clean, but were treated to a full style from the stylists and their donated styling products.
Mary Ann Corrigan-Davis, president of St. Joseph Academy, is a breast cancer survivor and is personally touched that her students are willing to donate their hair and help those in need.
“The girls are just so loving and are willing to do anything,” said Corrigan-Davis. “I know what a gift it is for someone to donate their hair. It’s such a personal thing for these young girls to do.”