GRANGER — The second annual Cut for a Cause assembly at Woodward-Granger Elementary School was, by any measure, a success, as 29 students and three adults donated at least eight inches of their hair to the fight against cancer.
Sponsored by hair care product maker Pantene, the “Beautiful Lengths” program collects donated hair, which is then used to make wigs for patients who have suffered hair loss while battling cancer or other illnesses.
Not to be denied the chance to due their part, six boys volunteered to have their hair buzzed as a show of support for their girl classmates who were having pony and pig tails cut off.
W-G Elementary Counselor Jenna Tweeten has been the driving force behind both events. She noted 13 students had donated last year, generating nearly eight feet of hair. This year, with nearly triple the number of overall participants, some 21 feet of shorn locks were collected.
Cancer survivor Kris Bermel spoke to the assembly, noting that, while she did not lose enough of her hair during her recent battle to require a wig, she knew others who did.
“You are making a big difference in somebody’s life by what you are doing today,” she told the student donors. “Any little thing you can do, draw a picture, do a favor, say something nice — all of those things helps when we are feeling down. You get tired of being sick and tired, and when someone does something kind it can really help.”
The fight against cancer is, of course, a serious business, but anyone thinking children are incapable of understanding the seriousness of the issue would have been forced to reconsider their position after hearing many of the youngsters speak Friday.
Almost to a person they understood what they were doing was going to help someone who was, almost without exception, in a life-or-death battle. Some were a little sad at losing beautiful locks of which they were justifiably proud, but again, without exception, sad they were happy to do what they could to help, even though they knew they would never meet the person who would benefit from their generosity.
Smiles and laughter were in abundance Friday, lightening the atmosphere. Having the assembly come at the end of the last day before spring break went a long way toward adding a little excitement to the even as well.
Listed by grade, the following became warrior heroes in the battle against cancer Friday:
- Pre-School: Blake Schepler and Finnley Klaus.
- TK/Kindergarten: Cameron Tonnelli (TK), Jaedyn Thompson, Adalyn Smith and Lena Uhle.
- First grade: August McKeever, Savannah Ross and Aleah Saak.
- Second grade: Jenna Dugan, Shelby Woods, Macy Weeks, Reese Schepler and Brooklyn Thompson.
- Third grade: Braxton Swink, Lexi Wendzel, Oscar Potter, Isabella Bunston, Grate Janssen and Payton Archer.
- Fourth grade: Avery Finestead, Max Behrens, Taylor Headley and Kory Smith.
- Fifth grade: Gabby Griffin, Sophie Thomas, Molly Cue, Maddie Sus, Abby Rosen, Cela Hill, Nick Rees, Sawyer Genkinger, Samantha Smith, Kayley Reed and Dylan Major.
- MS/Other/Teacher: Michelle Levenhagen, Maddison Mann and Kay (last name n/a).