Donations come in many forms, but the most difficult ones are those that require a personal sacrifice. At Charter Oak High School’s fall rally, two brave high school students donated their hair for cancer. Their hair will be made into wigs that will be given to women who have lost their hair as a result of chemotherapy.
Seniors Clarissa Garcia and Synclair Gonzales are best friends and classmates. When Synclair came up with the idea to have a hair drive, an event that would raise awareness about breast cancer and donate hair to be crafted into wigs, Garcia was all for it. As the president of Charter Oak’s Key Club, she even collaborated to have the event sponsored by Key Club.
The two girls decided to donate their hair at the fall rally, a couple of months before the drive, in order to show the students what it would be like and explain why they were doing this. One of the school’s very own students, Samantha Carillo, is a lymphoma survivor. She gave a moving speech about her struggles before the girls had their hair cut.
Carillo then proceeded to cut Garcia’s hair.
“It was a liberating experience,” said Garcia. “In the moment, I went even shorter than I planned to. All of the excitement made me really proud to cut it.”
Synclair’s younger sister also participated in the drive. Her grandmother, a stylist, stood behind Synclair, who stood behind her younger sister. At the countdown, her grandmother cut Synclair’s hair, who in turn, cut her younger sister’s hair.
One of the teachers also donated her hair at the rally. Ms. Sabillo has been a friend and mentor to Synclair since her sophomore year in Pre-Calculus. Sabillo had her hair cut by one of her close friends, another math teacher in the department.
At Charter Oak’s Homecoming Game, freshman Carla Casas also donated her hair, with the scissors being manned by her older sister, Adriana. The girls have placed an emphasis on family, friends, and valuing the relationships you have with those around you.
“I thought from the very beginning that it was going to be a great experience,” said Garcia fondly, “I was very excited to participate in it myself. I thought it would be a great event for the school and would get students involved and aware of cancer’s difficulties.”
The hair drive, officially called Pantene Beautiful Lengths, was originally scheduled for Dec. 6. The drive has now been postponed due to complications and will most likely take place in March.
Though the campaign has been difficult, Synclair has persevered.
“It’s really frustrating because it feels like it’s one obstacle after another,” she said about the delay, “but at the same time, it’s kind of a relief because I’m so busy with college applications and finals right now. I think that the extension gives me more time to focus on the event and make it as widespread and successful as I envisioned.”
“I think it gives us more time to fundraise and get people to donate their hair,” Garcia smiled, “We also have more time to sell merchandise. I’m glad that it’s still happening. I think it will be part of our legacy. I came to this school my freshman year hoping to make a change and leave my mark on the school. My hope is that when the class of 2016 leaves, the next class will take place.”
People are encouraged to come and donate, although certain restrictions apply. Hair cannot be dyed and at least ten inches must be donated. You do not have to attend Charter Oak to donate your hair. More information is available on cobl.weebly.com. Sometimes, the journey to making a difference in the world begins with a single haircut.