High school girls donate hair for cancer patients


by QUITA CULPEPPER / KVUE News and photojournalist SCOTT MCKENNEY


Posted on October 11, 2013 at 6:26 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 14 at 4:19 PM

AUSTIN -- On Friday dozens of girls at one Austin high school cut their hair -- a move made even more special because of whom they hope to help.

October is breast cancer awareness month, and students at Saint Dominic Savio Catholic High School in Northwest Austin wanted to do something to make a difference.

Remembering a friend's mother who died of cancer was just the beginning. It looked and sounded like an ordinary Friday afternoon pep rally. But for a group of girls, it was a chance to make a difference in the lives of others.

“I've been wanting to do this for a really long time. And I feel like it's something really special,” said student Cecelia Flores.

“We just want to donate a little bit of ourselves for them,” said student Brooke Ellis. “So we will be cutting eight inches of our hair.”

Brooke’s best friend Amira lost her mother, KVUE Executive Producer Thea Williams, to cancer in 2010. 

Brooke wanted to do something to honor Williams and the loss Amira is still working through.

“She said ‘Thank you so much. I am so glad you're my best friend,’” Brooke said through tears. “’I wish I could be there for you right now.’”

Kim Frayar of the organization Wonders and Worries says is crucial to help kids through the painful ordeal of losing a parent. 

“Her mom is just as important, and real, and special in her life. Just as she was years ago,” Frayer said. “Having others acknowledge that, honor that, celebrate that, and celebrate her mom with her. That is truly key to being able to continue on in a healthy way.”

It's the kind of support Amira, now 17, says she will never forget.

“I don't even think I'd be able to be here right now. Honestly, it would be too hard. It still feels like people are there for me. And it's just a really good feeling,” she said.

While Brooke got ready to donate her hair to support Amira's loss, she received a special surprise. Amira flew in from Seattle to be with the friend who helped her through the worst time of her life.

After that, dozens lined up to give a selfless gift. One that will not be forgotten, by the cancer patient who will have the chance to feel beautiful again.

And not by the young women whose lives have been touched, by the loss of someone they love.

In the end, 62 girls stepped forward to donate their hair to the American Cancer Society's Beautiful Lengths program.