“I haven’t personally seen it…” Ashley Greenwood, Junior at Londonderry High School said when asked about her little sister’s friend’s new hair. “But I saw pictures…and (her) smile was amazing! Especially for how hard it’s been.”
“That smile! You would never know…”
Last year, Ashley’s younger sister, Skyler, now in fourth grade, experienced something even adults cannot prepare for–her best friend had to undergo treatment for Leukemia, and subsequently began to lose her hair.
With the help of Pantene Beautiful Lengths and the American Cancer Society, a wig was presented to Skyler’s class on behalf of her brave young friend. Not long after, Skyler and her mother personally delivered the wig to the Boston Children’s Hospital.
After seeing what her best friend had to go through, young Skyler decided to pledge to donate her own hair to honor her friend, who is now in recovery. In solidarity, Ashley will be accompanying her on the LHS gymnasium floor on the school’s Day of Giving.
“She’s always wanted to cut her hair,” said Ashley. “It’s just amazing that it’s for this cause.”
Ashley explained that the pledge has brought her and her sister closer together. The two have bonded through periodically measuring the current length of their hair and how short it will be after their collective donation, smiling the whole way through.
“It’s brought so much joy to us.” Ashley beamed.
The Greenwood sisters will be joining over a hundred other students in giving at least 8 inches of their hair at Londonderry High School’s 12th annual Day of Giving. The drive will benefit Pantene Beautiful Lengths, a donation effort from the hair care company to give wigs to patients losing their hair to cancer treatment.
Since 2007, LHS has held its own drive to donate ponytails to Pantene. When the drive first started over ten years ago, the turnout was just over 60 students on that first day. In recent years, the Day of Giving has brought in around 150 students with each drive, with even more donating throughout the year.
“Students are what makes it happen.” Said LHS Teacher, Pep Rally Emcee, and Day of Giving Coordinator, Steven Juster. “They are the Angels. Without them, nothing happens.”
Juster mentioned that students will often come to his classroom throughout the school year, showing off new short hairstyles with ponytails preserved in plastic bags to go on to a patient waiting for a wig. The school will help send out donations, with contributors’ addresses and names attached, all year, should students find they are unable to give on the day of the event.
Juster further mentioned that since the drive has grown, he’s had students participate in the drive who have been preparing to give since hearing about it in middle school, perhaps from older siblings who have previously pledged.
The Day of Giving is always announced during the Fall Pep Rally to remind and/or introduce the drive to students. This shout-out gives students the opportunity to pledge and prepare for that coming year, the next year, or the year after that–whatever year they are ready and willing to contribute their own beautiful lengths.
Though for 2020’s Day of Giving, LHS will be ending their decade-long partnership with Pantene. According to Juster, starting on December 31st, 2018, Pantene will be discontinuing its Beautiful Lengths campaign, and will take the next few years to complete wigs from their donations.
Juster stated that the school will consult with the American Cancer Society (ACS) to choose another company to work with, as the ACS takes great care in vetting the organizations they work through.
“I just want to put it out there, especially because it’s the last one for Pantene, to just do it!” said Ashley regarding students who may be on the fence about giving their own hair at the event. “Go for it, because your hair will grow back…use the beauty of how your hair can grow, and use it for another beauty–to help people with cancer who can’t.”
“Think about the smile someone will get when they get their hair. And when you cut it, you’ll feel so good.”
This year’s Day of Giving at LHS will be held at the winter pep rally on December 21st, 2018. For more information on the Day of Giving at LHS, Steven Juster can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.