Whitehall News

Rosemore teachers, students donate their locks to children with cancer

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A woman's hair is said to be her crown and glory. So when six teachers and three students from Rosemore Middle School in Whitehall decided to donate their long locks to children with cancer, they were applauded and congratulated.

When they agreed to let other students and coaches do the cutting, they were all called brave.

In fact, it brought seventh-grader Shyanne Reese to tears.

Why?

"Because it was my hair," she said. "I love my hair."

Shyanne knew it was all for a good cause, though. The experience was all part of a number of events this month at Rosemore in recognition of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. She offered to donate her hair, along with eight others, to Children with Hair Loss, a nonprofit organization dedicated solely to providing human-hair wigs to children with cancer.

She did it in memory of a 13-year old girl she had known -- and loved like a sister -- who died of cancer last year.

Shyanne wasn't the only one remembering a loved one.

The school's student council president, eighth-grader Hailey Daugherty, said she did it in the name of her grandmother and several other teachers who died from the disease.

"My grandmother died in 2009, and since then, I've had other life-changing experiences that have really opened my eyes," she said.

She chose Chris Linhart, her volleyball coach, to do the honors.

At first her mother, Azure Zarbaugh, said no to the donation. But when Hailey explained why she wanted to do it, Zarbaugh agreed.

"She has beautiful hair, and I didn't want her to regret it," Zarbaugh said. "But she made a very valid point to me. I'm so proud."

Hailey said she plans to grow her hair and donate it again.

Alisha Wilson, a health teacher at the middle school and president of the Whitehall Education Association, was one of six teachers who also donated their hair to the cause. She said it was all part of a month of activities meant to raise both cash and awareness among students. When it comes to awareness, though, she said astounding is the number of students who either know someone who is battling the disease or who has died from it. In fact, during an impromptu poll at lunch one day, nearly 90 percent of the students present said they knew someone with cancer.

"It was a terrific connection piece," she said of the exercise.

Throughout October, students could purchase bracelets and pencils raising cancer-awareness and cash for the cause. Students also were able to buy raffle tickets or an opportunity to be one of the few to wield scissors.

The school's efforts raised more than $600 and enough hair to make nine wigs for children with cancer. Students celebrated their efforts with a rally in the school's gym last week, singing the national anthem, participating in toilet-paper races and chanting the traditional R-A-M-S.

Also donating their hair to Children with Hair Loss were teachers Amy Back, Amy Gilmore, Amie Marker, Nicole Armintrout and Stormy Gibson. In addition to Shyanne and Hailey, Damaris Delaxrus Lujan also donated her hair for the cause.

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