LONDONDERRY — They are best friends and wanted to take on another effort to not only celebrate that friendship but to help others.
Londonderry High sophomores Lauren Laudani and Riley Burns were among about 20 stepping up to cut their hair as part of the school's annual "Day of Giving" held in the gym Friday morning.
The annual celebration of life and community support got a newer look for 2021, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The gym floor in past years would be filled with nearly 200 donors, all waiting patiently to have at least 8 inches of hair cut to support the creation of wigs for those battling cancer.
But this year, the numbers were small with no large audience cheering from the gym's bleachers. The rally was broadcast live through the school's YouTube channel.
For 15 years, Londonderry High has hosted its “Day of Giving” and hair donation assembly, bringing attention to not only the many who donate their hair, but also students who do great things in the community.
Event organizer and high school teacher Steve Juster said this year those who donated their "Lancer Lengths" were still a very strong, committed group that wanted to continue the mission to help during some very challenging times.
Juster, along with his organizing pep rally group, said the event went on differently, but was no less important. He calls his annual donors his "angels."
The scaled-down Friday rally pointed out those who were giving their hair, while also spotlighting the talents of the school's dance team and student musicians.
For Lauren and Riley, cutting their hair together was one more way to stay connected.
"We've been friends since we were 8," Riley said. "It's magical."
The two had attended last year's rally and decided to donate their hair this year.
Juster said most people sitting on the gym floor had been affected by cancer in some way.
"Every one is a testament to how strong people are," he said. "This is a celebration."