With Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” blaring through the speakers in Bearcat Arena, Northwest students and alumni paraded onto the court alongside their friends and family members who would cut off anywhere from eight to 16 inches of their hair.
The St. Jude Executive Board held its second Cut Loose event Jan. 30 to collect hair donations for Children With Hair Loss and raise money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital.
In addition to the 46 bags of hair for the wig-making charity, the event raised $962 for St. Jude, which provides cancer treatment to children with no cost to their families.
Children With Hair Loss, according to its website, is a non-profit that provides human-hair wigs and hairpieces to children and young adults with medically-related hair loss such as cancer treatments, Alopecia and Trichotillomania.
Recipients of hair replacements are eligible to receive a new wig or hairpiece every year until they are 21. CWHL provides more than 300 hair replacements and care kits each year.
St. Jude Executive Board Side Events Chair Maggie Leatherman said the board chose CWHL last year and this year because it provides wigs for some St. Jude patients.
“Last year was more about promoting the event and what it is, and this year I’m just really thankful to see so many people show up again,” Leatherman said.
Leatherman said around 55 people donated hair at last year’s event. She said her goal for this year was 50 donors.
Leatherman was one of the donors at the event. She said her hair was not long enough to donate last year, so she grew it out for this year’s event, and she was ready for it to go.
Several donors said they had been thinking about cutting their hair beforehand and the opportunity to help a charity was the push they needed to do it.
“I feel like every girl has those thoughts of just like, ‘I should just cut it all,’” freshman Grace Gardner said. “And then, over winter break I really started to feel that way. I was debating just cutting it at home, but then I thought I could do it for St. Jude and it means something more, and I won’t feel as bad if I regret it.”
Senior Linsey Filger donated at last year’s event and grew her hair back to the same length just to cut it again. She said she never donated her hair before the first Cut Loose, but that experience changed her relationship with her hair.
Filger said bringing her sister to cut her hair both times and seeing the hair getting sent off eased her nerves about the process.
“I feel like I used to (have an emotional attachment to my hair), but when I did Cut Loose last year, I was like, ‘You know what, I can grow this back. I don’t need this anymore,’” Filger said.
Alumna Taylor Felz also spent her year growing her hair to chop it. She said she wanted to cut it at last year’s event when she cut someone else’s, but it wasn’t long enough.
“It’s a really small sacrifice to make; hair grows back, but it’ll make a really big difference in the lives of the kids who get wigs,” Felz said.
After donors had their friends or family do the major cutting, professional stylists were available to clean up the cuts, free of charge.
Stylists included Brenda Hammitt and her team from The Haircut Place, Dottie Douglas and her team from Polished and Pampered Day Spa and You Gotta Beauty by Chelsie.