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Local residents donate locks for love

As a pediatric nurse, Toni Heer helps children in need everyday, but donating her hair to cancer patients is something she said she had to do.

"All my life, I was told I had beautiful hair. And earlier this spring a little girl came up to me in a grocery store and said, 'Hey lady, you have really pretty hair.' And after that, I went home and told my husband that someone else has got to enjoy my hair for awhile," said Heer.

Toni's hair will go to Locks of Love, an organization that makes wigs for children with cancer. Throughout the day, women stopped by a salon for a free new do and a good cause.

One brave five-year-old trimmed her tresses for the very first time.

"I wanted to give it to kids with cancer," said Erika Schambacher.

Sunday's hair drive was organized in memory of a young woman named Andrea Morelli, who died of cancer five years ago.

"At the time, she was growing her hair out," said Laura Smelski, Morelli's mother. "But unfortunately when they started chemo, her hair started falling out, so she had to cut her hair, and she hadn't reached the ten-inch minimum need for Locks of Love. So after she passed, I thought well, I'll help her fulfill a dream that she wasn't able," Smelski said.

A custom made hairpiece typically costs $3,500, but Locks of Love gives theirs away free of charge.

"You just see these kids with their little bald heads, and you just know what they've gone through, and it just changes their self-esteem," said Smelski.

So, if you've thought about giving, but are afraid to part with those locks, remember your hair will grow back. And, you'll help make a child's tough time a little easier.

12/3/2006
By: Nneka Nwosu

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