Haycock Elementary School teacher Tara Fredericks knows how important a wig can be for a person undergoing chemotherapy treatment. So when some fellow Haycock teachers approached her about donating to Locks of Love, Fredericks did not hesitate to join the team effort.
“I had been thinking about donating to Locks of Love for awhile, so when this opportunity came up, I was excited to join,” said Fredericks. “My mother and great aunt have both battled breast cancer over the last five years. Both women endured chemotherapy and the accompanying hair loss. Wigs really made such a difference in their confidence to keep doing everyday things during that time. I realize it’s only a small thing, but I’m doing this to honor how strong they both were during that time.”
Fredericks is one of seven Haycock staff members planning to donate 10 inches of hair to Locks of Love, a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children under age 18 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis. Haycock Elementary School assistant principal Kelly Sheers initiated the project.
“I was inspired by the number of our students and staff members who contributed to Locks for Love in the past,” said Sheers. “When I learned that it took up to eight hair pieces to make a wig for one child, I asked my staff if anyone wanted to join me in contributing to the cause. Six Haycock classroom teachers and our guidance counselor joined me in my endeavor to provide a wig for one child.”
ACCORDING to Sheers, the participating teachers are all at different stages in the hair-growing process.
“Some of us have a few inches to go to meet the 10-inch requirement for a donation, while others have a longer way to go,” she said. “It gives me great satisfaction to know that my hair will be used for a child who is disadvantaged who will no longer have to suffer from hair loss. Growing my hair out for the organization Locks of Love is a simple way to give back.”
Teacher Alana West was also motivated by past student participation in the program.
“I’ve always thought about doing Locks for Love, but I just never did,” said West. “Kelly Sheers, our assistant principal, wanted to form a team, and that gave me my motivation. I’ve also watched student after student donate hair, and I think it’s great to see. I think it’s a great way to give something special to someone else.”
Hillary Butler has made hair donations to Locks of Love twice in the past, and was considering keeping her hair short for a change. But when she heard about the teacher team project at Haycock, she could not resist signing up for the cause once again.
“I just think it’s a nice thing to do — especially because I find I’m too busy to volunteer as much as I’d like, and so this is an easy way to do something for a child in need — not scheduling a haircut is something I can definitely fit into my calendar,” said Butler. “You think about those kids who have lost their hair and what they’ve gone through, and if donating my hair helps boost their self-esteem and raise their quality of life – even a little — then I’m all for it.”
Assistant Principal Sheers said the project also fits in with the overall teaching goals of Fairfax County Schools.
“One of Fairfax County’s Student Achievement Goals is for students to be respectful and contributing participants in their schools, communities, the country, and the world,” said Sheers. “As an administrator, I felt that it was important for me not only to provide our students with opportunities to give back to the community, but also to try to be a role model by being a contributing participant in our school, the community and beyond.”