Conversations bounce off of the walls in the cosmetology building at Riverside City College as students and locals alike prepare for hair donations at the biannual Haircut-a-thon on March 2.
The event is hosted by the Childhood Cancer Foundation of Southern California based in Loma Linda. According to the CCFSC website, the group is a non-profit organization that functions to give emotional, social, educational and emergency assistance to families who have, or have had a child with cancer.
Once collected, the hair is then sent to the non-profit organization Wigs for Kids. Wigs for Kids has been providing Hair Replacement Systems and support for children who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy, radiation therapy, Alopecia, Trichotillomania, burns and other medical issues at no cost to the children or their families, as stated on their website.
RCC cosmetology students and teachers were in charge of gathering hair into ponytails and braids from donors.
“Cancer for many people is a very emotional thing,” Nicholas Rodriguez, the RCC cosmetology club adviser, said. “This event gives my students the opportunity to talk to people who have experienced it in real life.”
Children who have been diagnosed also took part in the event as assistant stylists to help students with head shaving and saving the 12 inch hair donations.
“It’s exciting for the children,” said Reyna Valencia Perez, a Riverside local and parent said. Her daughter, Reyna Ramona Valencia Perez, acted as an assistant stylist.
Many Riverside natives attended in support of the cause such as Roland Lewis, who has been participating in the foundation for years and opted for a head shave with the help of an assistant stylist.
“I love it, I’ve been doing this since the beginning,” said Lewis. “This little bit can make them feel better even if it’s for a little bit.”
Those who did not want a shaved head or had 12 inches to donate showed their support with a cut and style that was provided by the available student stylists.