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Making the cut

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Volunteers show support for those struggling with cancer by donating some of their own hair

By The Staff

In today’s economy people everywhere are being forced to make cuts. It may be not eating out as much or buying that new outfit. Whatever the cut, it is not always easy.

On Saturday, at First Baptist Church in Owenton, 17 women showed up to make another kind of cut. For them, it too was a sacrifice. It was well worth it.

The Mothers of Preschoolers group from the church hosted a hair donation event where people were invited to donate their hair to those who may have lost theirs as a result of Cancer or other diseases.

The event was organized by Kiley Blair, MOPS Coordinator for the Owenton group. Blair realized the need for such an event after watching her mother-in-law deal with her battle with breast cancer.

Ruth Blair was diagnosed in February 2008 with breast cancer. Shortly after the diagnosis she had a mastectomy and underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatments. As a result, Blair lost her hair and had to go through the process of finding a wig that she felt comfortable with. The process was not easy, but with help she finally was able to find the right one.

While watching her try and find that right wig, Blair wanted to help. She was not sure how, but after several weeks of thought, she did some research and decided to let her hair grow out and then donate it. She decided that if she felt moved to do this, there were likely others who would also be motivated, and therefore she put the hair donation event together. 

“I was originally going to let my hair grow out for myself but God had other plans,” Blair said. “When I started growing out my hair I had no idea that my mother-in-law would be losing hers.”

Ruth Blair attended the event on Saturday and spoke about what it was like to lose her hair.

“I lost my glory,” she said.

Ruth Blair used the word glory to refer to her hair. She talked about how most women treat their hair with great care and how when the hair looks good, the woman feels good.

She said she went through three wigs before she finally found the right one.

Along with the women who showed up at the church to have their hair cut, several others who could not attend also donated hair or will be donating hair. Kathy Sandlin, a hair stylist from Touch of Polish who helped cut hair on Saturday, also brought 14 pony tails that the salon had been collecting over the past several months. That brings the grand total of donations to 37. 

Debbie Phillips and Kelly Cammack, both local salon owners, were also on hand to cut hair at the church for the event.

“The event exceeded my expectations,” Kiley Blair said. “People kept thanking me for having the event, but I kept telling them that they were the ones who needed to be thanked.”

Kiley Blair said she was also overwhelmed by the response of many local businesses that supported Saturday’s event.

The event also drew the attention of MOPS Council Coordinator, Aimee Cox. She and her family came from Frankfort to the event and will be featuring it on the MOPS International Web site. Cox oversees about 50 MOPS groups from all over the state of Kentucky.

The ages of those who donated ranged from 3- and 4-year-olds to senior adults.

Nearly all who donated their hair said that they were doing it because they knew someone who had lost their hair due to chemotherapy and wanted to do something to give back.

Kiley Blair said she never intended the hair donation event to be more that just a one-time event. After the feedback from those who were there, however, those plans may change.

Susan Peters, who donated the most hair – 14 inches – said, “Give me a couple of years to grow my hair out and I will be back.”