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|Salon collects locks for cancer survivors|
Three years ago Cj Sartor began growing her hair out to donate it to a cancer charity in memory of her late brother.
She intended to donate her hair to "Locks of Love" but later discovered the charity did not accept color-treated hair.
During a vacation in Long Beach, Miss., she was approached by a stranger who excitedly asked if she would be willing to cut her hair and donate it to "Pink Heart Funds."
"I wanted to do this in memory of my brother, Bill, after he passed, and I also had a really good friend, Jimmy Beach, who had cancer, and he has passed," Sartor said.
Though "Locks of Love" and other organizations like it don't accept color-treated hair, Sartor kept growing her hair. However, she wasn't really sure what she was going to do with it.
"Well, my husband and I go to Long Beach for vacation, and we're walking around town at this little fair when it starts to drizzle," Sartor explained. "So, we start looking for a place to get out of the rain when all of a sudden this lady starts running after me saying, 'M'am, m'am, can I talk to you for a minute?'"
"So she stops me and we talk and she asks me if I would consider donating my hair for kids who have cancer," Sartor said.
The woman gave Sartor information about "Pink Heart Funds," and after reading about it, Sartor decided she would donate her hair to the charity.
"Pink Heart Funds" was created by cancer survivor JoAnn Nicely of Long Beach. She wanted to provide wigs to children and adults in Gulf Coast states who have lost their hair due to cancer treatment.
"She is very supportive of people who have been through hurricanes," Sartor said, which is why Nicely's charity focuses strictly on people who live in Gulf Coast states.
"She has a lot of support from Biloxi, Gulfport and Long Beach where those people just lost everything," Sartor said. "She started right after Katrina."
On Tuesday, Sartor got 19 inches of her hair cut off by Mary Ann Sivils, who recently opened The Color Bar Salon along Antique Alley in West Monroe.
She is the first stylist in northeast Louisiana to cut hair for people who want to send it to "Pink Heart Funds."
Sivils also has lost loved ones from cancer and is just as passionate as Sartor is about "Pink Heart Funds."
"I've lost my dad, Joaquin Turner, and my aunt, Janie, to cancer," Sivils said. "I've donated my pony tail and my two daughters have donated their pony tails, too."
Sivils hopes in the near future to have a pony tail cutting marathon in hopes of convincing as many people as possible in a day to donate their hair.
"I am sure a lot of people have a family member or a friend who has been touched by cancer or lost family members or friends to cancer," Sivils continued. "There's probably a lot out there with pony tails who want to donate it, but don't really know what to do with it.
"This is so close to home, and it helps not only children, but adults. I am in the business of helping people in their self-images, and transforming people, and I can't imagine what it would be like not to have any hair. You go through a lot of different emotional roller-coasters.
"It is just a huge blessing to be able to do something like this for someone battling an illness and allow them to feel beautiful again."
Sartor added, "They say one of the main reasons women put off getting cancer treatment, or going to see if they actually have cancer, is because they are afraid of the chemo and losing their hair. So, it's good to know you have a backup, and there's options out there."
"Pink Heart Funds" provides its services to people free of charge.
For more information, go to www.pinkheartfunds.com.
Local residents can donate their hair to "Pink Heart Funds" by contacting The Color Bar Salon at 855-3061.