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Academy Lancers shear off locks for charity


Academy of Notre Dame students, from left, Grainne Casey, of Pepperell, Mollie Anderson, of Billerica, Emily Paquette, of Tyngsboro, and Carsyn Fisher, of Ayer, donated their hair to Lancer’s Locks, a hair donation event to aid women and children suffering from hair loss.

TYNGSBORO — The Academy of Notre Dame student council sponsored Lancer’s Locks, a hair donation event to benefit Children with Hair Loss and the Pantene Beautiful Lengths program.

As the first group of four girls prepared to have eight or more inches cut from their hair, they linked hands in support of one another. There were grimaces, smiles, and even some crying, but soon the cheers and encouragement from fellow students, parents, faculty and alumnae began to take hold.

“Before we knew it, students were asking if they could call home to get permission to participate,” commented Elizabeth Achorn, world language teacher and student council advisor.

As the students’ bond grew, so did spectator support and encouragement. By the end of the event more than three times the expected number of participants had joined in, yielding 258 inches of hair in all shades of blonde, brown, black and red. Katie Valin of Wilton, New Hampshire, donated a whopping 15 inches of hair!

The majority of hair collected will be sent to Children with Hair Loss, whose staff makes and provides hairpieces for children at no cost to families. Some participants also elected to send their donation to the Pantene Beautiful Lengths program to provide real-hair wigs for women battling cancer.

Ali Layous, of Methuen, the lone volunteer stylist was touched by the spirit of the students and how they supported one another. “Donating hair is a very personal decision, and an extremely difficult one for a young girl,” she stated.

As evidence that the sense of community at the Academy extends far beyond just the students, Achorn herself shaved her head on Sunday for pediatric cancer.