Students Help Cancer Patients Through Charity

Tuesday, March 11th 2008, 7:04 pm
By: News On 6

Of all the difficulties with cancer, the cosmetic can be one of the most painful. Technically, hair loss is harmless, but it can have a huge emotional impact. That's where donations come in. News On 6's Steve Berg reports nine girls at Centennial Middle School decided they wanted to help. They went to great lengths to do just that.

Pantene Beautiful Lengths is the charity that will take the donated hair from the girls and makes the wigs for cancer patients. Teacher Cindy Rhoades understands better than most.

"I am a survivor. Two-and-a-half years almost," said Teacher Cindy Rhoades.

Rhoades' hair has grown back. But, it was a long, difficult process.

"Oh, it was very traumatic, and at the time, my daughter was 11, and that was one of the things that she was really concerned about was, are you going to lose your hair, are you going to lose your hair," said Rhoades.

The school here has been hard-hit by cancer with five staff members suffering the illness recently, including Rhoades.

"There is two of our staff right now that don't have hair and they are making good use of those pretty wigs," said Rhoades.

So, a few months ago, the girls started growing their hair long.

"And get permission from mom and dad, of course. We had to get that," said Rhoades.

It's a big sacrifice for these girls at an age when having the right hair is a big part of self-esteem. But, Molly Summers isn't crying about getting her hair cut short. Her father is recovering from colon cancer.

"It's almost done, back to normal, like a normal person without cancer," said Molly Summers.

And Summers says she's overwhelmed by her classmates' generosity.

For Jenny Stevens, one half of the only mother-daughter team, the challenge was just growing the hair.

"Most people don't keep their hair long at my age," said Jenny Stevens.

"It's rewarding both for us and the people that'll get it," said Stevens.

Local hairstylists were on hand afterward to donate their services, so the girls could make the most of their new, shorter look. The charity is always looking for donors. And men can donate too.

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