Hair raising: Donate your locks to help Wigs for Kids
It all began with a casual conversation about wigs during a hair appointment.
Christina Wonnacott and Jess Arnone, her stylist at Cardamone’s Salon in Downtown Pittsburgh, talked about how women with cancer often struggle with having to cut their locks because of the effects of chemotherapy and other medical issues.
Out of their conversation came two significant projects: a screenplay about hair loss that Wonnacott wrote for a college class; and a charity event where people can donate hair or get haircuts to help the Wigs for Kids program.
For over 30 years, Wigs for Kids has provided hair replacement systems and support for children who have lost hair at no cost. The hair loss can be due to chemotherapy, radiation therapy, Alopecia, Trichotillomania, burns or other medical issues.
The effects of hair loss go deeper than just a change in appearance. Hair loss can erode a child’s self-confidence and limit them from experiencing life the way children should.
“I have been blessed with four healthy grandchildren and two healthy sons,” said Wonnacott. “But I know there are many youngsters who lose their hair from cancer treatment and other medical conditions. They might be teased at school for not having hair. These wigs look like real hair, and this is important for kids.”
Wonnacott, 65, who decided to go back to school after retiring, is a freshman at Point Park University, Downtown. She wrote a screenplay called “Casting Call” for an Intro to Screenwriting class in the fall.
The screenplay told the story of a girl who has to cut her hair for a lead dance role. When she gets to the salon, she is unable to cut the hair she has been growing since her mother died of cancer. However, when a critically ill bald child walks into the salon she discovers the child is waiting on custom-fitted hair from Wigs For Kids. She immediately decides to donate her hair.
The production will come to life under the watchful eye of Dylon Hartigan, a fellow Point Park student who is director and producer. He will film some footage from the Wigs for Kids Cut-a-Thon from 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday, at Lawrence Hall on the Point Park University campus. Hair cuts will be $20 for men and $40 for women. For those interested in donating, a minimum of 12 inches is required. Hair cannot be permed, color treated or highlighted. There will be eight beauticians from Cardamone’s Salon cutting hair as well as assistants helping to help wash and blow dry.
People can also contribute money.
Hartigan will also shoot some action next weekend at Cardamone’s Salon, which along with Wonnacott, the university, Dean Paylo, Hello Bistro, Pizza Fiesta, Bill and Walt’s Hobby Shop and Katie’s Kandy have teamed to be part of Sunday’s cut-a-thon.
“The possibilities are endless,” Hartigan said. “I believe the film will come out well, and Wigs for Kids can use it, and if it goes viral that will be great, because it’s a wonderful cause.. I know a lot of people who are already coming Sunday.”
Hartigan said Wonnacott is a go-getter.
“I think with her life-long experiences she cares about what’s she is doing,” he said. “When I first talked to her I wanted to be part of this right away because this is right up my alley. It is also helping an amazing charity.”
Cardamone’s Salon wanted to be part of this because it’s a worthwhile cause, said Jill Coughenour, manager.
“This event is in line with what we strive for,” said Coughenour. “We are an ambassador for Wigs for Kids and proceeds from Sunday will go to Wigs for Kids. We are happy to do our part.”
JoAnne Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 724-853-5062 or [email protected] or via Twitter @Jharrop_Trib.