(Photo by Rodeo & Co Photography)
Today I placed a check mark next to something everyone should have on their to-do list: I donated 10 inches of my hair to Locks of Love.
Hair grows back. (Isn't it annoying having to shave everyday?) Despite this fact many girls feel they're losing a part of themselves when they cut off their long, luscious locks. (Heck, I did.) The difficult thing to remember is that some girls don't have that choice.
Cancer has never had an affect on my life since Nana B. (my great-grandmother) died when I was three years old. My only memory of her is dancing around her hospital room trying to cheer her up. That's the last time I saw her.
I miss her, though. Amazing to think we can miss people we never really know. She just means so much to me because of the influence she had on my mother.
Other than Nana B. no one I've really known has had cancer. I don't know how the idea to donate my hair came to be. Maybe the pictures of students from Pinkerton Academy chopping their that I found in the Derry News inspired me. I'm not sure. I do know that after meeting my lovely friend, Hannah that this is something I want to do.
Hannah wants to be an oncologist. She is motivated, driven, and caring. At 18 years old she is a Licensed Nursing Assistant. Throughout my tumultuous and joyous senior year of high school she has been there for me, as I have for her. Almost everyday she posts something about cancer on her facebook page, trying to spread awareness and compassion. She works with patients at her internship with the Littleton Auxiliary Hospital and does everything in her power to make their day a little brighter. She's seen patients go, but she fights for their last moments to be happy. I think Hannah is my true inspiration for donating my hair when I did.
It just came to me. I needed my hair to be trimmed, but I initially wanted it to be longer before I cut it so I'd have a decent amount left over. But on my way to the salon I just thought: "Why not now?" Hair grows back, and I could use a change.
So without fully thinking it through, I brought the idea up to Edie, my lovely hair stylist. She was taken aback. Edie knew I wanted my hair to be longer, but she kept saying short hair would be so cute on me. However, I had to do some calculations. If hair grows about half an inch a month and I begin college in September how long will my hair be? Having my eyebrows waxed never felt so simple. Edie said I didn't even flinch!
When the time came I was regretting it already. I'm a long hair person. I love to braid it, put it up, play with it in class, etc. But I committed to it. Edie tied my hair in two ponytails and hacked it off. It was one of the most intense moments of my life. (Lame, I know.)
Leaving the salon with ten inches of my beautiful hair in the seat next to me- and not on my head- was difficult. I was happy, I was mourning...it's like I was pregnant with all of those emotions! They kept flipping back and forth. However, I knew I had to call Hannah. Unfortunately she was working at the Children's House (she's so good with kids...bless her little heart) so I left a message; I wanted her to be the first person I told. When she texted me back a few hours later it was like I had won an award or something. Hannah was thrilled! She was so happy about what I did, and wanted to see how I looked. She kept me sane when I was mourning the loss.
When I told all of this to my mom she also brought it back into perspective. I had a choice to cut my hair. Cancer patients do not. Some people may think hair is not a big deal, but it really is. To allow someone to look at themselves in the mirror with my hair instead of nothing on their head makes me cry. For once when a cancer patient sees themselves they see them, not the illness. It's so empowering. I wish I could meet the girl who is wearing my hair, whether she's big or small. I'd just want to hug her, and tell her someone who doesn't even know her cares.
I'd like to thank Hannah for being the inspiration to cut my hair, even though she had no idea I wanted to do it. To Edie, thank you for walking me through the process. (I really needed that.) To my mom, you brought it into perspective for me. And for Nana B., wherever you are I hope life is a dream. =)
I'd also like to wish all the happiness to the girl who's wearing my hair. I know she must look like me, because the amount of hair I donated for her is that amount of hair I have left for me.
To all cancer patients: You are fighting a difficult struggle. I can not understand what you are going through because I have never experienced it. Please know that there are people out there who care about you. Your family, your doctors, and even people you don't know. Although difficult as it is to be in this state happiness is the best way to feel better. It even heals. Look it up, and smile. =)