Farmington friends Libby Sanford and Jack Pelham, both 12, celebrated the end of a year's worth of tangles and endless brushing at in West Hartford, where they got haircuts recently.
The pair, who will be students at Farmington's Irving A. Robbins school in September, made the decision more than a year ago to grow out their hair and donate it to organizations that would use it to make wigs for those who lost their hair due to illness.
Jack donated 8 inches of his hair to Pantene's Beautiful Lengths, while Libby gave about 10 inches to Locks of Love.
For Libby, it was the third time donating her hair.
“The first time I did it, my friend was doing it because her mom was sick and I decided to do it, too," Libby said. "It’s a great cause and it makes the kids that get the wigs very happy."
After three years, she’s gotten a routine down.
"I cut it in the beginning of the summer; it was getting annoying because it was really long and it was hot."
When Jack heard Libby was again growing her hair to donate, he thought he’d give it a try, too. They had been in the same class in grades four and five and are close friends.
Jack found it wasn’t always easy.
"It was frustrating at times because I knew I had to brush it or comb it but sometimes I didn’t want to," he said. "Other times it was really fun. We would play around and put our hair up in ponytails and run around at Boy Scouts."
Jack’s mom, Teresa Pelham, said Jack was quite a sight in his Scout uniform with shoulder-length hair. Out of uniform, Jack said he got mixed reactions as a boy with long hair.
“A couple people that didn’t know me thought I was a girl, others thought it was for a nice cause and others didn’t know what to think about it,” Jack said.
But it was definitely worth it, Jack said.
“I realized it would help a bunch of people because if they lose their hair they can get a wig,” Jack said.
He imagined a little girl might get a wig made with his hair.
“It’s probably going to be a little girl that just lost her hair and is really sad. It will probably help her to fit in more and give her more confidence,” he said.
Both of the kids’ parents are proud of their children’s generosity.
“I think it’s wonderful,” said Liz Sanford, Libby’s mom. “It’s a great way to make a difference very easily and it’s something she initiated."
Teresa Pelham, who donated her hair with the kids, acknowledged that some parents might not be pleased. Instead, Pelham said she was impressed with Jack’s resolve and compassion.
“Some parents might not be too excited to have their boys looking like girls, but that’s the kind of kid Jack is. He doesn’t really care. He’d rather look kind of funny for a couple months and help someone out,” Pelham said.
She also credited Anthony at the Anthony Nicole Salon for taking great care in cutting the kids’ hair.