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Senior celebrates graduation by donating hair

Published: Tuesday, May 28, 2013 9:46 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 7:43 a.m. CDT
(Monica Maschak - mmaschak@shawmedia.com )
Amanda Ericson, a senior at Sycamore High School, gets her hair styled after chopping off more than eight inches of her hair at Great Clips in DeKalb on Tuesday, May 21, 2013. Ericson will donate her hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, a program similar to Locks of Love, because it doesn't require a cash donation from hair donors and serves a broader range of recipients.

  DeKALB – The past three years of high school have been a time of growth for Amanda Ericson – and her hair.

Ericson, a Sycamore High School senior, had a little more than 8 inches of her trademark long, curly hair lopped off May 21 so she could donate it to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, a partnership organization between hair care manufacturer Pantene and the American Cancer Society.

“I’ve always had long hair, and I always wanted to cut it short,” Ericson, 18, said. “This was convenient – I wanted to cut it anyway, so I might as well give it to someone else.”

Ericson said she chose the Beautiful Lengths program because it provides wigs through American Cancer Society wig banks at no charge to patients. She didn’t like that some wig charities, such as the more well-known Locks of Love, price wigs on a sliding scale depending on the recipient’s ability to pay. She also thinks Beautiful Lengths receives fewer donations than Locks of Love because it serves adults, while Locks of Love focuses on children.

Great Clips stylist Martha Villavicencio, who cut Ericson’s hair, said the DeKalb salon sees at least two hair donors a week. Ericson was the second donor to have her hair cut there May 22.

Ericson’s mother, Laura, seemed surprised when Villavicencio cut Amanda’s hair only to her shoulders.

“She still has long hair,” she said.

Nonetheless, the cut is likely the shortest Amanda’s hair has ever been, her mother said. Laura Ericson said her daughter began planning about three years ago to celebrate the end of high school by donating her hair. As she looked in the mirror at the finished cut, Ericson said it looked the way she thought it would, but she still looked a little stunned.

“It feels different,” she said. “But someone needs it more than I do. “

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