Basking Ridge Students and Teachers Donate 'Locks of Love' Tresses

June 2, 2014 at 1:41 PM

BERNARDS TWP. - It may have been done for love, but that doesn't mean it was easy.

Some serious faces, and even a few tears, accompanied Friday's all-day "Locks of Love" shearing, in which 55 students and teachers voluntarily donated their flowing manes for a good cause - to make wigs for young cancer patients or other young people who have lost their hair as a result of a medical condition or treatment.

Those who donated their hair knew months ahead of time that they planned to grow it long especially for the service-based project. The May 30 event was organized by the William Annin Middle School student council.

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"I've been needing a haircut seeing summer is coming up," said sixth grader Brock Martynowski, one of the few boys who participated, and who had grown his wavy hair to the needed length. He added, "Once I heard I could do something with it instead of just cutting it off, I decided to do it."
William Annin algebra teacher Tara Cascarelli, one of the 55 students or teachers who donated hair, said she was willing to part with her flowing tresses "for the cause." 

She said she likely would have had her hair cut sooner, but decided to wait. On Friday, those who had their hair measured and snipped then received a cut and styling from the owners or stylists from two local salons.

However, as the scissors came out - as skillfully wielded by the volunteer stylists from Bella Rouge Salon and Blow Dry Bar in Basking Ridge, and Carpe Diem Salon and Spa in Bernardsville _ the moment of truth's arrival was still a bit painful.

Eighth grader Jasmine Bao, who usually keeps her hair long, according to her mother, Susan, alternated between smiles and seriousness as Melissa Castner, owner of Bella Rouge, shaped her new mid-length style.

A tissue box was handed to teacher Christina White, who couldn't hold back a few tears.

Most of the participants were from WAMS, said Cherie Stappanbeck-Howarth, physical education and health teacher at the middle school. Howarth, who pulled together the project, and said she would afterward mail the snipped ponytails to the organization in Florida, also is head softball coach at Ridge High School. She said two softball team members would be donating their hair.

Howarth wasn't only an organizer - she also added her donation to the box of hair she will mail out.

This is first year the event is taking place, but Howarth said she hopes it will continue in future years.

The salon stylists made their own generous donations - of time, and expertise.

Deana DeRosa, owner of Carpe Diem, said her salon does complementary hair cuts for those clients donating to Locks of Lock, and even will add a free manicure if time permits.

Sabina Gray, a Carpe Diem stylist, said Locks of Love requires 10 to 12 inches of hair to make an actual wig but sells lesser contributions for hair extensions, and uses the funds to create wigs.

More information about Locks of Love is online.

Howarth said one of the staff members at the school made it especially easy to keep in mind the reason for the project.

She introduced Mary Knell, who works in the office at WAMS, a cancer survivor, whose treatment resulted in permanent hair loss. Knell was wearing her own natural-hair wig although it was not acquired from Locks for Love.

That morning, she said, she revised the t-shirt given out to the participants that read, "I gave my hair...because I care." 

Her shirt had been edited to read, "I have my hair...because they care." 





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