By Nance Ebert, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – For years, Marlborough High School (MHS) has been involved in some sort of a hair “Cut-a-Thon” as a way to raise funds for Relay for Life. This year, teacher Amy Chirco, inspired by one of her students, Samantha Edwards, decided to have students donate their locks to the nonprofit organization, Hair We Share. Based out of Roslyn Heights, N.Y., the nonprofit organization relies solely on donations, in the form of real-hair ponytails and monetary contributions, to help provide quality hair solutions at no cost to many men, women and children throughout the United States.
Edwards, a senior at MHS, has alopecia, an autoimmune skin disease that causes hair loss on the scalp, face and sometimes on other areas of the body.
“When we were brainstorming in class about our upcoming ‘Cut-a-Thon,’ I looked out into my classroom and thought that perhaps Samantha might be interested in being the recipient [of a wig]. When class dismissed, I privately asked her if the company would make her a wig, would she be interested? Her eyes lit up. This annual event basically went from a Cut-a-Thon to a wig for Sam,” said Chirco.
“Many of the students felt strongly about cutting their hair right before the prom so we decided to change from having this event in May (when it is traditionally held before Relay for Life) to having it at the beginning of the year,” she added.
Since the fundraiser started, donated ponytails have been steadily streaming in. A group of five freshman girls, Payton Rogers, Nicole Barros, Adyson Koch, Lauren Lefebvre and Julia Limeira, none of whom knew Edwards, were happy to donate their hair for this worthy cause, Chirco said. She added that she is hopeful that monetary donations will also start coming in.
“We have raised some of the money needed but we are hopeful that we will meet our goal. I told my students that I will also cut my hair once we raise the first $1,000,” she noted.
Edwards, who lost her hair at a young age, has never worn a hat or a wig. But as she will be attending college this fall, she has decided she does not want to have the label of “the girl with no hair”.
“I am so excited that I have been given this opportunity. I cannot wait until I get to wear it,” she said.
The wig takes a few months to make but Dean Riskin, co-founder of Hair We Share, has assured Edwards that she will have it by June. She will get to select the style as well as the color.
In February, there will be professional hairdressers volunteering to do the Cut-a-Thon for MHS’s faculty and students who wish to participate.
Anyone wishing to make a hair donation can do so by dropping off a dry ponytail of 8 inches or more at Marlborough High School. Monetary donations can also be made out to Hair We Share and mailed to the attention of Amy Chirco at MHS, 431 Bolton St., Marlborough, MA 01752.