Lather, Rinse, Donate: Armstrong donates hair for cancer patients

On Saturday, May 24, Staci Armstrong of Abilene was found at Shear Style salon in Eastland preparing to have 10 inches of hair cut away to be bagged and donated to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. The hair will be made into a wig that will be given to a cancer survivor who has lost their own hair following necessary medical treatments. “My decision to support cancer patients in this way was heavily influenced by my desire to honor my mother, Zela,” said Armstrong. Her mother, Zela Armstrong of Sweetwater, is a cancer survivor who celebrates her two-year cancer-free anniversary today, May 29. Staci explained that it took over a year and a half to grow her hair to this length and that this was the greatest length she has ever let it grow. She continued to relate that it was challenging to keep this decision a surprise for her mother until only a month before donation day. “Many times, I wanted to cut it off, but I thought about the things my mom went through — if she could get through that [the challenges of conquering cancer], then I could last just a few more months without giving up,” Armstrong stated. She described her mother as a strong-willed, courageous, supportive, loving and caring Christian woman. “I could not imagine a better woman to call mom — she supports me in anything I set my mind to, even if it seems crazy at the time.”Pantene Beautiful Lengths was established in 2006 by the hair-care corporation to provide free, real-hair wigs to breast cancer patients. Beautiful Lengths is a partnership between Pantene® and the American Cancer Society®, the largest nonprofit health organization committed to saving lives from every cancer and improving the quality of life for people facing the disease. So far, this program has donated 24,000 free real-hair wigs to the American Cancer Society’s wig banks, which distribute wigs to cancer patients across the country. “There could not be a better organization for me to have chosen to donate my hair in honor of my mother,” said Armstrong. Zela Armstrong has been a part of the Nolan County Chapter of the American Cancer Society and is serving this year on the board of that organization as Survivor Chair for Nolan County. According to the Beautiful Lengths program, it takes at least 8 to 15 ponytails to make a Pantene® Beautiful Lengths wig, and each one comes from a different person with a different shade of hair. For a realistic-looking wig that has consistent color, all these ponytails must be processed and then dyed the same shade.Armstrong’s donation cut was complements of Ashton Cummings Polley, owner and operator of Shear Style Salon, located at 1600 West Plummer in Eastland. Armstrong enthusiastically endorsed Polley — who has been occasionally involved in other hair donations of this nature — for any salon services. Polley’s Shear Style may be contacted on Facebook or at (254) 631-8617.