Happy Birthday Hailey!

How do you celebrate your Sweet Sixteen? If you are Hailey Gilbert, a rising junior at Londonderry High School in Londonderry, New Hampshire, you celebrate this landmark day by giving a piece of yourself.

“During both my freshman and sophomore years, the Pantene pep rally (at Londonderry High School each January) had me in tears. I promised myself I would give at least once in my high school career.”

“The day before my birthday I decided that I was going to be getting so much, why not give back? I had my best friends at my house for my birthday anyways and I had them and my sister cut my hair.”

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Hailey is such an inspiration. It was her special birthday was on July 16th, and she gave the most priceless gift of all.

Keene State College Second Annual Donation Day

by Allie Bedell

On Saturday, April 13, 2014 Keene State College held its second annual Donation Day for Pantene Beautiful Lengths. 114 brave donors made the cut, nearly doubling the number of donors in just one year. At the start of the event, only 102 donors were registered. 14 others asked to donate immediately following the event after hearing from speakers and seeing the crowd donate together.

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KSC Beautiful Lengths began in 2012 when KSC students Allie Bedell and Brittany Porter started a social media campaign encouraging young women to grow out their hair for the first Donation Day. Funded by a Pepsi Grant on campus, 60 women donated at the first event. In just one year and with the help of student Alyssa DeMarco, who will be the Donation Day 2015 coordinator, Bedell fundraised more than $3,500 to continue Donation Day.

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Bedell and DeMarco are preparing to launch planning for Donation Day 2015 and have already received commitments from students to pledge to donate their hair.

 

Photos by KSC sophomore Jake Coughlin

Londonderry High School – Eighth Annual Day of Giving!

By Steven Juster

Londonderry High School held its eighth annual Day of Giving event on Friday, January 10th, 2014. The feature event at this assembly is the Pantene Beautiful Lengths hair donation. This year, a record 234 students, with a few staff and parents in the mix, participated in the simultaneous cut.

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As student Rachel Larkin said to me, having seen her grandmother taken by cancer, she knew there were young girls at the hospital refusing treatment because they did not want to lose their hair. She and the other angels spent the morning taking that obstacle away.
Several students and alumni were participating for a second, third and fourth time. Often, alumni drop off their donations throughout the year, but many of them were able to be on the floor to cut in front of, and inspire, the full-school assembly, also open to parents and community members.

The cut itself is a spectacle to see, but it is the stories that the donor/angels tell me through the year, some of which I share that day, that brings out the humanity in the room.
Student Brittany Varney has never had her hair short – NEVER – long hair her entire life, yet there she was, on the floor.
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Student Anna Tighe said “Ever since I was little, ever since I was little, I’ve wanted REALLY long hair, and now my hair is the longest it has ever been.” She was there on the floor this morning because, again in her words, “I can help one person.”
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Student Tianna Federico loves her long hair and donated as a sophomore so her hair would be long for her prom this year, but there she was, “I am able to go to the prom, “ she said, “while there are girls sitting in hospitals with no hair and IVs in their arms.” Tianna is 18 weeks from her prom, but donated.

Rebecca Solomons, a student at the town kindergarten (Moose Hill) was on the floor. This was Rebecca’s first haircut. She wanted to cut it with her sister,senior Hannah Solomons, who also donated.

Student Tori Ackley is the only person who actually physically shuddered handing me her form. She has attempted in years past to donate. I have handed the form back to her, told her to really think about this. The last time we talked tears welled in her eyes, but she smiled her wonderful smile, and handed me her paperwork.

I am blessed to be in a position where I encounter young people who see past their own interests to do the greater good. No wonder I call them angels.
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A special feature this year was Class of 2013 alum Myranda Brodsky, who had pledged to donate all of her hair as part of a fund-raising campaign for the American Cancer Society . She was able to present a check to them for $5,600. She chose to donate at LHS because she said she wanted to be among all these young women giving such a wonderful gift, and that it felt like “home”. We were honored to be spectators as she had her hair clippered close, to begin the next step of her journey, which is to raise awareness and support for breast cancer research. She hopes her grand gesture will bring about grand change.

This event would not happen without our team of professional stylists, who volunteer, many year after year, giving of their time to donate to making our angels beautiful, with a lot of skill and a lot of TLC. This year we had 23 stylists attend from area salons.
BLE_Londonderry_NH1859In 2011, we lost our angel, then sophomore Rebecca Tenney, suddenly to meningitis in September. She had already donated once, and had signed up to donate again that next year. After discussions about keeping an empty chair open for her, her friends filled it by donating in her place. Since then, someone, a friend or family member, has been here to fill her seat. This year, three of parents’ (Mark and Tammy) nieces came from Massachusetts to fill her seat. Her parents also attended.

Lastly, before the cut, three students stepped forward:
Meredith Byerly was there in honor of her grandmother, who died of ovarian cancer the day she was born. As she was dying, she had her health care worker put an X on the calendar to mark Meredith’s impending birth date. As Meredith said, “she really wanted to meet me”. But there is more. Her grandmother was a twin, and her twin sister came to Meredith’s important events, though she lived miles away, to make her feel loved. She also passed away from cancer, and Meredith knew it was time to give back.
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Amina Dallahi, a nine year old whose brother attends the high school, was born with Downs Syndrome. She was diagnosed with leukemia when she was four years old, and from 4 to 6 underwent the transfusions and chemo and lost all her hair. She is a survivor, healthy, and now that her hair has grown to beautiful lengths, she came over from the elementary school to donate.

Senior Maddy Gerlisch came forward with Terri, a local worker at the Dunkin Donuts/ country store whom everyone in town knows. Terri is a cancer survivor who lost all her hair. Maddy works with her. Maddy called Terri, “my second mother,” and talked about how she “could not imagine her life without her.” Maddy cut in her honor.

Following an inspirational song, the cut occurred: family, friends and survivors cutting long ponytails, tears and smiles and hugs all around. Though snowing and cold outside, it was a beautiful morning at Londonderry High School, Londonderry, New Hampshire.

I Chopped and Donated 12 Inches of Hair

By Maria Wen Adcock

I’ve always had fast growing hair, to the tune of a half inch of growth or more per month. Recently I chopped and donated 12 inches of hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, a program that uses real hair to make wigs for women who have lost their hair to cancer. It was the first time that I have donated to this organization, and I liked that fact that with Pantene Beautiful Lengths all donated hair is used for wigs rather than selling some of it for cash.

Those who want to make a donation can get their hair cut at any salon and simply mail in their hair. I found a highly-recommended hair stylist named Stana who cuts hair out of her home. I told her about my plans to donate to the program, and she was game with taking before and after pictures.

My hair had gotten to the length where it was just in my way. Between raising a young child and working, getting my haircut got lost between the busyness of every day life. Plus I knew I wanted to grow out my hair long enough to eventually donate and have someone wear a wig of a longer-than-usual length (minimum donation length is 8 inches required). I asked Stana to give me a bob-style haircut, and with that in mind the length of my hair she cut off was one foot.

IMG_0229 IMG_0243Looking at these before and after pictures really makes me realize how long my hair was. With shorter hair, my head literally feels lighter and washing and combing through my hair takes half the time it use to. My new cut is easy to take care of and more styled versus just hanging down aimlessly.

It’s good to know that my hair that otherwise would have been thrown away can be put to good use. I encourage everyone to donate if they can. Make sure to read the directions on the Pantene Beautiful Lengths site for requirements.

Dr. Jennifer Guerriero’s 2nd Beautiful Lengths Donation

Dr. Jennifer Guerriero is a fourth year postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, and she works in the research laboratory at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Her research involves harnessing the body’s own immune system to fight breast cancer, and Dr. Guerriero has received the prestigious National Institute of Health Research Service Award for her work in the field.

Recently Jennifer donated her hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths for the second time! She first donated to Beautiful Lengths in 2011 and looks forward to donating again in the near future!

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Meteorologist Stephanie Ortmann Makes The Cut!

Stephanie Ortmann works as a meteorologist at the NBC affiliate (KOAA-TV) in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Now TV anchors are known for their consistent looks, but Stephanie isn’t one of those typical TV personalities.

Not many would think that a hairstyle is a way to champion a cause, but back in 2011, Stephanie decided to chop off her hair, altering her on-air appearance in the name of giving back to women affected by the sad reality of hair loss due to the effects of chemotherapy. Inspired and supported by friends, viewers, and family, Stephanie chose to donate her hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. Stephanie donated a whopping 9 inches of hair for her first donation!

Stephanie Ortmann Makes The Cut – WATCH HERE

Fast forward a couple years later and Stephanie is ready to go for it again! “After donating for the first time a few years ago, I thought about how lucky I am to be healthy enough to grow out my hair,” said Stephanie. “To be able to gift my hair to someone who needs it made the cut more special. So I decided while my hair was still short that I would donate again once my hair got long enough.”

And that time arrived in December of 2013. Stephanie donated 9 inches of her long blonde locks once again to Pantene Beautiful Lengths.

“It’s such a great feeling to be able to give back to others by doing something so simple,” she said after going nine inches shorter. “For me, it’s not about how I look with long hair or short hair. I’m just happy to be a part of something bigger and hope that sharing my story on-air to my viewers will help inspire others to give back as well.”

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Stephanie plans on donating again once her hair is long enough.