KERSHAW COUNTY, SC — Style, compassion and a perfect blend of inner beauty were on display Friday afternoon on the Wateree Elementary School cafeteria stage.
Nearly a dozen students at the Kershaw County school received a special makeover as they shed their locks during the school’s Clips for Cancer campaign.
Each student had agreed to donate 8 inches of hair to the Pantene Great Links program, which uses the hair to make wigs for people undergoing cancer treatments. The effort was part of the school’s Relay for Life program that works with the broader Kershaw County organization to raise money to support those affected by cancer.
“A little piece of yourself can make a huge difference in someone’s life,” said Kelly Wilder, captain of the school’s Relay for Life program, as she surveyed the row of students getting hair cuts. “They just have such big hearts.”
Wateree assistant principal Lindsay Christofaro said the motivation for the event grew out of the significant impact cancer has had in the community.
“Everyone is affected by cancer,” she said.
Several of the students who would soon be sporting new looks said they knew a family member or family friend with cancer.
“It’s a really good feeling (to help),” fourth-grader Maddie Moniz said. “My mom and dad had a lot of relatives who lost their hair (because of cancer).”
Fifth-grader Elysia Buhlinger was donating in honor of her stepmother’s sister, who died of cancer. Her mother, Nica Nelson, said she was pleased by Elysia’s heart for service.
“It means a lot that she’s thinking of others to give back,” Nelson said. “It’s something she’s been wanting to do.”
The 13 students from the school who donated were joined by about a dozen more teachers, parents and community members. Their combined donations are expected to provide enough hair for about four wigs.
Area hair stylists from Allure Salon and Day Spa, Topper salon and Carmen Etc. provided the haircuts. Ashley Trimnal of Allure said she was excited to help teach a valuable lesson.
“They are just learning an important role that they can take with them throughout their lives,” she said. “It’s just cool to see kids learning at this young age what it means to give.”
Christofaro, whose two daughters were among Friday’s donors, said those lessons are particularly significant because they are personal.
“This is something they can actually feel,” she said. “This will teach them values for life.
Wateree Elementary School’s Relay for Life team will have another donation day May 10 for people who want to donate but don’t have the needed 8 inches to participate. Monetary donations to the school’s Relay for Life effort can be made payable and mailed to Wateree Elementary School, 424 Wildewood Lane, Lugoff SC 29078 and designated to Relay for Life.