Kennett students, teachers to again help cancer vicitms

At the latest Locks for Love event at Kennett Middle School: Pictured left to right: Mikayla Keinzle, Rebecca Ploener, Heather Uster, Brianna Aquilera, Noelle Raezer, and Judy Jester.

A Kennett Middle School teacher said she will again enlist the help of students to help people suffering with cancer.

Last year, teacher Judy Jester convinced 6 teachers and 6 students to cut their hair for a non-profit program called “Locks of Love.” The hair is used to make wigs and is worn by cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

“I think it takes a lot for a 13-year-old to say she will forsake her beauty to help someone else,” Jester said.

Jester said she will coordinate the event in October, which coincidentally is National Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Last year, six eighth grade students, Mikayla Keinzle, Rebecca Ploener, Brianna Aquilara, Noelle Raezer, Emma Hopkins, and Karen Estrada, had at least three inches and as many as 18 inches of their hair shorn for donation. The shorter amounts are to be used by a local wigmaker who works with the Helen Graham Cancer Center at the Christiana Hospital. Those shanks of hair that were 12 inches or longer were donated to Locks of Love, a non-profit that creates wigs especially for children who suffer hair loss.

And six teachers, Laneeka Reeves, Heather Uster, Jenna Reinheimmer, Erica Davenport, Jeffra Leo, and Judy Jester, followed suit. Salon by Dominic owner, Dominic Rappucci, donated free haircuts for the donations two days after school was finished for the year for those who hadn’t already taken the plunge before the traditional Eighth Grade Dance. Some of the girls would simply hand over baggies full of hair in the hallway to teacher Judy Jester who coordinated the effort.

When asked days before if she were anxious to shed her hair in light of a recent heat wave, Karen Estrada was aghast. “No. I love my hair. I’m only doing this because it’s such a good cause.” Fellow teacher and breast cancer survivor, Patti Tatum, was on hand to document the event. When she saw Karen begin to tear up just before her hair was cut, she told her that she would have loved to have had her hair when she was bald a few years ago. Karen turned to the stylist and said, “take another inch.”