INDIANAPOLIS - When is a haircut more than just a new do? When the locks left behind help provide a much-needed sense of normalcy for women and children battling cancer.
Jilayne Kistner, 7, of Zionsville, had eight inches of her hair trimmed off Friday at Platinum Hair Design to donate to the program Pantene Beautiful Lengths, which provides free real-hair wigs for cancer patients.
"I'm really doing it because I want to help the children who have cancer, and they don't really have much hair," Jilayne said. "It will probably make them feel happy."
For Pam Day, who was diagnosed with stage two cancer, the free Pantene wig she received through the American Cancer Society helped boost her spirits when she began to lose her hair right after Thanksgiving.
"It's awful. It's awful," Day said, choking back tears. "But for me, it was sad at first, and then I just got mad. I got mad about it. I got mad that I had cancer."
Day said her hair began to fall out within two weeks of starting chemotherapy, and by the 17th day, it was gone. For the single mother of two girls, the wig is much more than just hair.
"I still look normal. I'm not the person that gets pointed at at the grocery store. So, for me, that's kind of the most important thing," Day said. :And to make my children comfortable so that when they're out with me that mom still looks normal. Mom looks OK. They know mom's wearing a wig, but mom still looks like mom."
Jilayne loves that her pigtails will put a smile on someone else's face, and her new do puts a smile on hers.
"I do like it," she said, checking out her short locks. "I really like it very much."
The American Cancer Society only endorses two real-hair wig donation programs -- Pantene Beautiful Lengths and Wigs for Kids.
Those wishing to donate must have at least eight inches of hair to cut give. Untreated hair is preferred, but partial highlights are OK, since the non-treated hair is still usable.
To qualify for a free wig, call the American Cancer Society at 800-227-2345.