"Being a professional is doing all the things you love to do on the days when you don't feel like doing them."
-- Julius Erving
HEARD ON THE TOWN
WHILE MOST little girls look forward to a birthday celebration complete with cake, ice-cream, games and gifts, Julie Bryant of Cleveland has opted for an unusual way to celebrate a milestone occasion -- a "ponytail party."
According to her mom, Michelle Bryant, Julie will donate her nearly waist-long hair to the Pantene Beautiful Lengths program. The hair-cutting party will be at Fantasy Styles & Tans on North Lee Highway in Cleveland Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m.
"Pantene Beautiful Lengths is a charity campaign created by Pantene in partnership with the American Cancer Society that encourages people to grow, cut and donate their healthy hair to create real-hair wigs for women who have lost their hair due to cancer treatment," Mrs. Bryant said. "Beautiful Lengths provides free wigs to women and girls of all ages."
The nearly 10-year-old birthday girl, a fourth-grade student at Michigan Avenue School in Cleveland, is donating her hair in honor of her grandmother, who passed away due to breast cancer last August, her mom said.
"I want my hair to help some other little girl's grandma get through her cancer treatments," said Julie. "When my grandmother was sick, she looked a lot better in her wig. Sometimes she even let me try it on. That was fun."
Julie has had long hair since preschool, Mrs. Bryant said.
"We've had a few friends and family members who've donated their hair in the past. Shortly after my mother died of breast cancer last summer, I noticed that Julie really needed a haircut. Her hair was almost to her waist and was just too much for her small frame. So rather than trim off just four or five inches to lighten up the load, we decided to let it grow until her birthday then cut a little more and donate it for cancer wigs," Mrs. Bryant said.
"We want people to get the message that hair donations are needed for cancer wigs. It's something we take for granted, but I can assure you, most cancer patients mourn over every hair lost during their treatments," she said.
Though the youngster is a little nervous about the haircut, she knows she's doing something positive.
"I feel nervous about cutting my hair, but it will help someone who doesn't have any hair at all," said Julie.
The Bryants hope many people will show up at the ponytail party to donate their own hair.
"We hope in the future her friends and other people we know will donate because Julie did," Mrs. Bryant said. "She has several close friends coming to the party Saturday to support her. It will be easier to cut her hair with her friends cheering in the background."
For more information on the Pantene Beautiful Lengths Program, visit beautifullengths.com.
Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...