They made the cut to benefit a Cancer Society program

Sunday News Correspondent
April 26. 2014 8:49PM

Leah Stagnone donates hair to be used to make wigs for female cancer patients who lost their hair. She was one of about 35 donors at the Pantene Beautiful Lengths Ponytail donation event held Friday at Campbell High School in Litchfield. (JULIE HANSON/Union Leader Correspondent)

LITCHFIELD - Campbell High School students were groomed for a good cause Friday as part of the Pantene Beautiful Lengths ponytail event.

More than 30 students donated 8 inches of hair to make free wigs for women who have lost their hair during cancer treatments. The program has donated 24,000 real-hair wigs to the American Cancer Society's wig banks for distribution across the country.

The event at Campbell High School was coordinated by students Savannah Cavanaugh and Angela Valenti for their senior project.

"From my experience in knowing these ladies, they have such compassion in their hearts. To have them go forward with a project of this scope doesn't surprise me," said Aimee Burns, the students' project mentor.

She's proud of the determination the pair showed as they pulled together the pieces of the project. Their efforts show how meaningful the project is to them, Burns said.

Both of the teens had their lives touched by cancer.

"My grandmother had ovarian cancer and I saw how hard it was for her dealing with the hair loss," Cavanaugh said. "I figured this was a small way I could give back."

Valenti has seen two of her family members battle cancer.

"The cause has always been close to my heart," Valenti said.

They planned the event for more than a year with an initial goal of getting 20 donors. In a day that far exceeded expectations, the school gym was packed with spectators watching 35 people donate their ponytails. A group of male students also shaved their heads in a show of support.

The donors seemed exhilarated by the event. Eight inches was the most Makayla Michon had cut from her hair since third grade. She said she was there for her aunt who is being treated for breast cancer and wasn't strong enough to attend. She was joined by her mother, a hairdresser, who was also excited to be part of the event.

"I'm so happy that so many girls came together to do this," Michon said. "I didn't expect there to be so many. It's truly inspiring. It's awesome."

Jon Donaghey chose to shave his head to support the cause in remembrance of a brother who lost his battle with cancer. Christian Kamacho, who said his stepmother will be cancer-free for 15 years this October, also shaved his head.

"I couldn't donate my hair, but I wanted to show my support any way I could," Kamacho said.

Cavanaugh and Valenti expressed gratitude for all the support. They would like to see it become an annual event.

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