15th April 16:22
Giving a little piece of her hair (heart cancer breast cancer chemotherapy mammogram)
Friday, September 05, 2003
Giving a little piece of her hair
By MELISSA SHUMAN
When Marge Hicks decided to cut a foot-long length off her hair, she
knew she wanted to donate it to cancer survivors like herself. Mrs.
Hicks has been in remission from breast cancer for 16 years. She hadn’t
had a haircut for a while, but decided to grow her hair even longer to
donate it to Locks of Love.
Locks of Love is a not-for-profit organization based in Florida that
provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children under the age
of 18 with medical hair loss. They make custom-fitted wigs with real
human hair. The organization requires a minimum of 10 inches of hair
from tip to tip. Mrs. Hicks’ ponytail, when cut, measured 12.5 inches –
her original length from root to tip was 21 inches. It took her five
years to grow her hair to that length.
“I got tired of layers and it just kept growing,” she said. “I heard
about Locks of Love and looked on their website – your heart just goes
out to those children.”
Mrs. Hicks never lost her hair to cancer treatments, since she didn’t
“Seven**** years ago, chemo wasn’t that big of a deal, only some of the
doctors recommended it, so I never had chemo,” she said.
Mrs. Hicks’ doctor discovered her cancer during a routine pelvic exam
when she was 35 – five years before the recommended age for women to get
“If I would have waited until 40, I might have been in dire
consequences,” she said. “Seven**** years ago, mammograms weren’t as
common. Atchison didn’t even have a mammogram machine and so I went to
Doctors removed the lump and six months later found cancer again in her
other breast. She had three operations that eventually removed 75
percent of her breasts. More testing showed cancer cells still growing
in the remaining tissue, and she had yet another operation to remove
about 20 percent more tissue. She now has about 5 percent to 10 percent
of her original breast tissue. They gave her silicone implants for her
Mrs. Hicks’ mother, Mary Scaturro, said they were lucky her daughter’s
cancer didn’t spread further.
“We were really scared at first,” she said. “It’s that big ‘C’ word, but
thankfully she’s turned out OK.”
There is no history of cancer in Mrs. Hicks’ family, although her
relatives are in a higher risk group for cancer.
“You have to make your relatives aware of these things,” she said. “It’s
important that my daughters and nieces know.”
The breast cancer foundation recommends that relatives of breast cancer
patients get a mammogram five years before the age their relative was
Mrs. Hicks said the most important thing that helped her through her
cancer was support from family and friends. She and her husband Jerry
share two daughters, Kelli Baker and Kelly Ayers, and are awaiting their
fourth grandchild. Mrs. Hicks has worked as a computer supervisor for
Atchison Casting for 29 years.
“I underwent four surgeries because of the cancer, but had so much kind
support from family, friends and co-workers that I have always wanted in
some way to pay back the kindness,” she said.
The braid of Mrs. Hicks’ hair will be sent to 2925 10th Ave. North, Ste.
102, Lake Worth, FL 33461 in a sealed plastic bag and padded envelope.
Diane Hundley, who cut Mrs. Hicks’ hair, said a few of her customers had
donated their hair to Locks of Love.
“Last year we had about three or four people who intentionally grew
their hair out for that reason,” she said.
It takes about 10 to 12 ponytails to make a hairpiece for a child. The
hair must be long enough to weave two inches into a hairpiece. Mrs.
Hicks’ hair will be a portion of one of those hairpieces.
“It’s a good idea for them to use human hair,” said Mrs. Hundley. “They
can go in and color it so it’s all the same color. You can’t do that
with synthetic hair.”
Mrs. Hicks said hoped children would feel better about themselves after
wearing her hair as a wig.
“I’m so excited about donating this and becoming even a small part of a
For more information about breast cancer, go to: http://www.nabco.org
For more information about Locks of Love, go to:
http://www.locksoflove.org or call1-888-896-1588.