Archive for Thursday, February 3, 2005

Ponytails with a purpose

Sisters give away ponytails for children who have lost their hair

February 3, 2005

Sisters Cecilia and Victoria Lehmann were too young to remember when their cousin, Madeline Pyle, of Lenexa had leukemia several years ago. But their cousin's struggle with the disease left a lasting impression on the two girls.

"Our cousin had leukemia and she lost all her hair," Cecilia said.

Madeline has been cancer free for about eight years. Although Cecilia, 11, and Victoria, 10, don't remember Madeline without her hair, they said they had seen many home videos of Madeline during her bout with leukemia.

In mid-January, Cecilia and Victoria decided they wanted to do something special for other children like their cousin who had struggled with forms of cancer and lost their hair from chemotherapy. The girls decided they would each have almost a foot of hair cut off and they would donate their long ponytails to Locks of Love.

Locks of Love is an organization that collects real human hair through donation to make hairpieces for children who have lost their own hair because of cancer treatments or other conditions. The donated hair has to be at least 10 inches long, with little or no damage.

Cecilia and Victoria said they liked their new hairstyles, and so did their friends.

"At first they were like, 'Wow!'" Cecilia said.

Victoria said her friends told her they thought her new chin-length hairstyle made her look older, but she said she wasn't really sure she liked it at first.

"It took me, like, a day to get used to it," she said. "Right when I got it cut I didn't really like it very much, but now I like it."

Neither had any doubt whether they wanted to keep their hair short or grow it out long again.

"I'm gonna keep it short," they said in unison.

The girls said their cousin Madeline didn't know about the donation they had made, and that they were trying to keep it a secret until they saw her again.

The girls' mother, Roberta Lehmann, said the decision to have all their hair cut off was their own, but she didn't think they would have ever done it if they didn't know they were doing something to help another child.

"They knew it would be given to someone else," she said.

To find out more about Locks of Love, visit the Web site at www.locksoflove.org.

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