Kenley Hewitt reacts after her hair is cut off at Immaculate… (Lloyd Fox, Baltimore Sun )
Go to baltimoresun.com to see video from Immaculate Conception School's haircutting event.
Riley Fick, 7, had her pony tail snipped Friday before several hundred cheering classmates at Immaculate Conception School. Her mom, Bridget, expedited the clipping in no time and helped the little girl place the strands in a plastic bag.
Of the more than 50 girls donating their tresses to Pink Heart Funds, a charity that provides wigs for cancer patients, Riley had one of the most compelling reasons: Her 5-year-old brother, Brendan, is battling the disease. Organizers had hoped Brendan would at least symbolically handle the scissors for his sister, but he was hospitalized unexpectedly Thursday.
"It is absolutely wonderful that all these kids are giving back to all those kids affected by cancer," said Bridget Fick.
The second annual hair assembly at the Towson school drew double last year's numbers and was again organized by a Girl Scout troop. Katie Oliver, troop leader and kindergarten teacher, asked the Scouts what they could do for charity, and they came up with a hairy idea.
"They're kids and can't just write out a check so they decided to give pieces of themselves," Oliver said.
The girls donned pink T-shirts, tied the targeted tresses into pony tails — the minimum donation is 6 inches — and took seats in the school gym. A few confessed to jitters.
"I'm afraid they might get my ears," said Yasmine Adam, 9.
As the song "Give a Little Bit" blared over the loudspeakers, the cut-a-thon proceeded in earnest. Emma Parker, 9, contributed two pigtails.
"I feel really happy someone is going to be wearing my hair," Emma said.
Kenley Hewitt, 8, said she would miss her long locks, but planned to make a tradition of the donation.
"It makes me feel good to help children who have lost their hair," she said.
After the snipping, both Emma and Kenley twirled their new 'dos, which they decided were the ideal summer style.
A freckle-faced Annabelle Jackson, 7, said, "I am donating to a girl with cancer. I hope she likes my red hair."
Three generations of one family participated in honor of other relatives with cancer. Olga Diaz gave up inches of lustrous white, while her daughter, Kathleen Cahill, parted with thick brown locks and 5-year-old Eva Cahill shed reddish tresses. After they had all let their hair grow for the past year, they eagerly anticipated a cooler summer, they said.
"Short hair is just dry and go," Diaz said. "Eva wanted shorter hair, too, to go with her no-teeth look."
The trio planned to go out for dessert to celebrate their new looks and their donation, said Kathleen Cahill.
Five area hair studios offered their expertise to the newly cropped girls. Riley, with pink clips in her hair, said she would be happy with any style.
"She is my favorite kind of client," said stylist Laura Komatinsky. "She is letting me do what I want."
Riley's twin sister, Mackey, did not have quite enough length to make a donation, but she said she would continue growing and be ready next year.
"All this hair is going to make wigs for sick people," Mackey said. "It's a good thing. And you get a free haircut."