UC Merced students donate hair for cancer patients' wigs

yamaro@mercedsunstar.comMarch 19, 2013 

Vanessa Ortega braced herself Monday when her hair was getting chopped off.

The 20-year-old UC Merced student donated 8½ inches of hair in her grandmother's honor. Her grandmother died from lung cancer last year.

"Hair always grows back," Ortega, of Merced, said. "I'm going to do this again."

Ortega was among 25 women at UC Merced who donated some of their hair to Pantene's Beautiful Lengths, an organization that provides real-hair wigs to women suffering from cancer.

The event was organized by Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, said UC Merced student Sarah Plancarte.

The 21-year-old philanthropy chairwoman of the sorority said at least 8 inches of hair had to be donated, and that the event was a good way to give back to the community.

Hairstylists from the Main Street Girlz Salon were there to cut the donor's hair professionally. "They are just doing it from their heart," said Plancarte, of San Diego. "They are going above and beyond."

The sorority is hoping to make this an annual event, she said.

Ortega said that when her grandmother lost all her hair, her family got her some wigs, so she knows how beneficial they can be for cancer patients.

UC Merced freshman Katrina Dalmaceda donated 10 inches of hair.

The 19-year-old from Modesto thought it was a good idea to donate to those battling cancer. "We are so fortunate," she said.

Dalmaceda said she would consider doing it again when her hair finally grows back.

"It's gonna take a while," she said, laughing.

Reporter Yesenia Amaro can be reached at (209) 385-2482 or yamaro@mercedsunstar.com.

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