By Julie Huss
---- — LONDONDERRY — The tears and hugs continued weeks after the hair-cutting was done.
For Londonderry High School’s “angels” who participated in last month’s Pantene Beautiful Lengths program, the reasons for cutting their hair remained on their minds last week.
Twenty students who donated their hair to support the program were honored last week and received gifts from longtime event supporter Granite Ridge Energy.
Granite Ridge plant administrator Karen Beliveau presented each donor with a mall gift certificate for their efforts. She said they embodied the true meaning of what an angel really is.
“You all look like angels,” she told the students.
The young donors gathered in Pantene organizer and teacher Steve Juster’s classroom.
Coleen Burpeau, 16, cut her hair to honor the memory of a family friend from her church, Leigh Buckley, who lost her fight with leukemia in June 2009.
Remembering Buckley made her haircut all the more special, she said.
“And my birthday is today,” Coleen said after receiving her gift. “This is like an extra present.”
Coleen has donated her hair several times, thinking of Buckley every time.
“We used to babysit her little girls,” she said. “She meant a lot to my family.”
Caleb Moscoso, a freshman, was the lone boy cutting his long locks during last month’s event.
“It was 8 inches long,” he said. “I am in the band and everyone was talking about cutting their hair. The girls mentioned I should donate my hair, too, so I said I would do it.”
Londonderry High has hosted its Pantene Beautiful Lengths “Day of Giving” event for seven years. Students, teachers and community members cut their hair this year on Jan. 11 to support those battling cancer.
All the ponytails collected go to support Pantene and the Hair-U-Wear program. The hair is used to make wigs for cancer patients of all ages through the American Cancer Society.
Juster called all 178 donors this year his “angels” and said all their stories of hope and faith are inspirational. Since he could not give everyone’s story in his presentation that day, he chose some at random to receive the gifts last week.
He credited Granite Ridge for many years of support.
“All seven years, they’ve been part of us,” he said. “The first year, when we had no sponsors, no one to help us out, (they were there).”