Youths lop off locks for charity

Ashley Thompson
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Windsor Forks hair drive gives cancer patients hope

Students at the Windsor Forks District School learned how to give the gift of hope this past Valentine’s Day.

The school hosted its first Head For A Cure hair donation drive Feb. 14. The drive, organized by Windsor Forks teacher Melissa Greenough, saw more than 20 people head to the front of a packed gymnasium to have their ponytails cut off, and stuffed in baggies destined for a shop that makes wigs for chemotherapy patients.

It was an inspirational event, with a schedule that had spectators witnessing one admirable feat after another.

All eyes were on Greenough’s niece, three-year-old Roxanne Pena, when she braved the large crowd as the first donor to let volunteer stylist Pam MacKay-Edgecombe lop her locks off for charity.

A group of Windsor Forks students, staff members and supporters followed young Roxanne’s lead, each grinning from ear to ear when MacKay-Edgecombe’s sheers passed through their ponytails.

MacKay-Edgecombe took a break from cutting hair midway through the event to share her firsthand account of how hair donations help her stay positive while she battles cancer.

In true show and tell fashion, MacKay-Edgecombe reached for her hair and pulled a wig off of the top of her head.

“I’m lucky,” she joked. “I have a little fuzz growing in.”

Rubbing her bald head with one hand, and holding her wig with the other, MacKay-Edgecombe told the elementary school children she retired as a hair stylist two years ago to reduce her chances of being exposed to germs while undergoing chemotherapy.

“Today is not about raising money; today is about raising hope.” Helle Haven Peterson

She spoke candidly about how grateful she is that some people donated their hair to make it possible for her to wear a wig that helps her stay positive, confident and warm in the winter.

In thanking volunteers, Greenough said she was thrilled to see so many Windsor Forks students willing to make a positive influence in the lives of people they may never meet. She said the kids often have to rely on the willingness of others to support them with fundraisers but, this time, the students had an opportunity to give something that solely belonged to them.

“Sometimes it’s nice to give the kids a chance to do something they can own themselves,” she said.

A manager of independent fundraising for the Canadian Cancer Society, Helle Haven Peterson, said some things are more precious than dollars and cents.

“You are giving people hope,” she said.

“Today is not about raising money; today is about raising hope.”

Local hair stylists Lorraine Rawlins, Gayle Bartlett, Michelle Young-Hiltz, Tara Johnson, Samantha Davidson and Krista Conrad volunteered their time, along with MacKay-Edgecombe, to ensure that everyone who donated a ponytail left the school with a new hairdo she could be proud of.


Organizations: Windsor Forks District School, Canadian Cancer Society

Geographic location: Windsor Forks

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