Emotions run high at cancer charity event

MARIETTA – Washington Elementary School student Tasia Washburn could not wait to find her teacher in the school’s gymnasium Friday evening and show off her chic new hair style.

“I’ve been wanting this haircut forever,” said Washburn, 10, of the bobbed cut which tapered longer in the front.

But Washburn’s haircut and all the others taking place in the gym Friday night also had a deeper significance. “I’m giving it to Locks of Love,” said the fourth-grader.

Dozens of individuals took to the styling seats during the school’s Hair Hoopla event Friday, getting inches chopped off for a cancer charity or, like Washburn’s brother, 8-year-old Tarick Washburn, shaving their hair off as a show of moral support for the cause.

The event was coordinated by The Washington Elementary Woven Hearts Relay for Life team and Building Bridges to Careers (BBC), which is a community group dedicated to bridging the gap between education and employment, said BBC community outreach director Tasha Werry.

There was no shortage of reasons why Werry, 39, chose to go under the scissors and donate her locks to the cause.

“It just seems like the perfect combination of things coming together,” Werry said of the event. “You’ve got parents, you’ve got students, you’ve got the community, Relay for Life, all coming together for one event.

As a show of solidarity, Werry’s husband, Rick, 46, got his head buzzed for the first time since his Army days, some 25 years ago.

Students had a chance to support the cause and see some hair fly earlier Friday afternoon. For a dollar donation, students could enter for a chance to cut the hair of four teachers who donated their hair to the cause or to shave the beard of school principal Scott Kratche.

Fifth-grade teacher Bethany Colvin, one of teachers who had her haircut during the assembly, joked that she was not the one who needed convincing.

“I wasn’t nervous at all. I was so excited. My students didn’t want me to do it,” she said.

But Colvin showed her class a picture of her with a shorter hair style and won them over.

Several students returned to the school Friday to do the same. In fact, some were getting their first ever haircut. “I can’t touch my hair anymore,” remarked 11-year-old Anastasia Nicholas, after donating around ten inches of hair.

The haircut was Nicholas’ first, said her mom Mary Nicholas, who was surprised when Anastasia came home and announced she was cutting her hair.

Marietta mom Angela Fleeman got a bit teary eyed as she watched 6-year-old daughter Patience Glidden get her first haircut.

Fleeman said she was proud and shocked when Glidden came home and announced that she wanted to cut her hair for charity.

“She said, ‘I want somebody else to have my hair,'” she recalled.

The wigs mean a lot to cancer patients, who are dealing with having their identity stripped from them, said Linda Lohr, a facilitator for “Look Good, Feel Better” and owner of The Connection Day Spa in Lowell.

“With cancer, your identity is almost taken away, and we help you create a new identity,” said Lohr of the program, which is offered through Marietta Memorial Hospital’s Strecker Cancer Center.

The free program provides wigs and makeup to female cancer patient and the program facilitators work with patients to help them feel beautiful.

“We teach them how to draw their eyebrows on, style their wigs, wear turbans,” said facilitator Niccole Hysell. Roxanne Cline, 30, of Belpre has contributed her long red locks to charity on a couple of previous occasions, but had a personal reason for participating in Hair Hoopla.

“My mother-in-law has cancer. She just found out two months ago and I’m doing this in honor of her,” said Cline as she had 15 inches cut off.

Hair was donated to Locks and Love and Pantene Beautiful Lengths, which have different length and coloring requirements for hair donations.

Salon volunteers from Sheila’s, Jenna’s, Great Clips, Melanie’s Design Specialists, The Connection Day Spa and the WCCC Adult Technical Training Cosmetology program were on hand to cut the hair and provided free styling to those donating locks.