Most 16-year-olds have enough worries from getting their driver’s license, to passing their next exam, to making plans with that special someone. But when NSU junior Lesly Viera was 16, she had a different kind of concern – she was diagnosed with cancer.
Doctors discovered a lymphoma located between her heart and lungs, so Lesly went through chemotherapy to beat the disease. Now, the 20-year-old biology major is stronger than ever and wants to give back to other teens and young adults affected by cancer. So despite carrying a full course load at NSU, Lesly started and continues to run Locks for a Cause – a student organization that raises funds for cancer research.
On Sunday, April 7 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. the group will host its third annual “For Hair’s Sake” cut-a-thon to raise funds for cancer research and collect ponytails for Locks of Love, a non-profit that creates high-quality wigs for children who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy or a medical condition.
Local salon Shear Designs by Carolyne Gordon, as well as several independent stylists, will offer complimentary haircuts to hair and monetary donors. Criteria for donating hair includes:
- Hair must be at least 6 inches long;
- Dyed hair is acceptable, but bleached is not;
- Hair must be clean, and dry at time of donation;
- Those unable to donate locks are also welcome to make a financial contribution.
Last year, Lesly and the Locks for a Cause group raised more than $360 and collected more than 155 ponytails in one day. This year, the group hopes to out-do their previous event.
“A hairpiece can give a child confidence and can make a terrible situation a little easier to cope with,” Lesly said. “Our hope is that we can bring the community together and get even more donations this time!”