School hosts local Wigs 4 Kids cut-a-thon

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published June 17, 2015

 Twelve students and one staff member signed up to donate hair to Wigs 4 Kids from Rodgers Elementary School on June 3.

Twelve students and one staff member signed up to donate hair to Wigs 4 Kids from Rodgers Elementary School on June 3.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — After months and, in some cases, years of growing it out, a dozen local students took the plunge and gave up their locks for children in need.


This is the third time that Rodgers Elementary has sponsored a cut-a-thon from Wigs 4 Kids at the school, and 12 students and one teacher had at least 10 inches cut June 3.


Seven-year-old first-grader Reece Heier said she was looking forward to having the haircut “because it’s going to be really hot this summer.”


And 9-year-old fourth-grader Anna Finazzo, one of three sisters to have her hair cut, said it was learning more about recipients that made her eager to help.


“Because of the kids that lost their hair, I’m going to donate my hair to them,” she said while her long locks were still attached to her head.


Ten-year-old fourth-grader Kassidy McEvoy said she had not had a haircut in about six months.


“I’ve had long hair my entire life and I wanted to try something new,” she said. “And besides, it’s for a good cause.”


Possibly the biggest cheers came for 10-year-old fifth-grader Joseph Rathnaw, who had been growing his hair out since seeing another boy donate his hair the last time Wigs 4 Kids was at his school. It took five ponytails and then a lot of work with the clippers to bring back his boyish style.


He said he was excited to be cool again after more than a year of having long hair, but that his friends and family were “surprised and kind of terrified I’m cutting it off.”


“Joe, he heard me speak when he was in the third grade,” Wigs 4 Kids founder and CEO Maggie Varney told the school. “He’s been growing it out ever since.”


She told the students that the organization helps kids with cancer feel normal again during their treatments and also assists children with alopecia and other diseases and disorders that cause them to lose their hair.


It takes 10-12 ponytails to make one wig, she said.


This is the fourth time that 9-year-old third-grader Madeline Longson has donated her hair to Wigs 4 Kids.


“I really like donating my hair. I like helping kids with cancer,” she said.


And, she added, she really doesn’t like having long hair.


“It’s really hard to brush every morning,” she said, explaining that she only gets one haircut per year in order to donate.


Students weren’t the only ones facing the shears — Lynn Franckowiak, who teaches moderately cognitively impaired students at the school, also had four ponytails worth of hair cut.


“It’s something easy I can do to help somebody else,” she said. “I hope it lets them (the students) see how anybody can help, big or small.”


This is the third time that Wigs 4 Kids has held a cutting event at Rodgers Elementary School. Abigail and Alyssa Finazzo, Mikayla Roussin, Nina Harkonen, Breanna Szydlowski, Grace Gebauer and Melia Paras also had their hair cut that day.


Prior events have been held in 2011 and 2013. The next one, teacher Misty Ryan said, will be in June 2017.


Throughout the school year, she said the student council has also been working hard to raise money to donate to Wigs 4 Kids. They were able to raise $1,000 this year to help pay for the cost to make a wig, she said.


“It’s amazing,” Varney said. “It helps with awareness. Makes kids more sensitive to kids who may be different.”


To learn more about hair donation and the mission of Wigs 4 Kids, visit www.wigs4kids.org.

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