Candice Lenart said her students at Towslee Elementary School barely recognized her Friday. She has been away for five weeks and in that time she lost one of her most recognizable features — her hair that extended beyond her shoulders.
Lenart, who directs the school’s Kids Hope mentorship program, has been undergoing chemotherapy to treat breast cancer.
She returned to Towslee on Friday with a scarf tied around her head for an event in her honor — one that will help child cancer patients so they don’t have to wear scarves to hide the effects of chemotherapy.
Second-grade teacher Christy Sinko, center, has her hair cut Friday by her mom Linda Decker, left, and Principal Lisa Mayle. The event at Towslee Elementary School in Brunswick collected hair that will go to make wigs for young chemotherapy patients. (Maria Kacik / Gazette)
This is the third year the school has held a hair-cutting event for Wigs for Kids, a nonprofit that collects human hair to make wigs for young chemotherapy patients.
Towslee’s 700 students filed into the gymnasium to see their teachers, a student and others have between 8 and 12 inches of their hair lopped off. As each participant stepped up to the cutting block, the students chanted and cheered them on.
“They were so excited,” Principal Lisa Mayle said.
“I don’t think we’ve ever had this many people donating,” Lenart said. She said she was appreciative of the outpouring of support.
In total, six people donated their hair: two teachers, a student, two parents and a man who simply heard about the event and decided to attend.
Chris Jackson of Ashland donated his long locks, had his inches-long beard cut and his head buzzed short.
“I’ll walk outside and I’ll probably be cold now without the hair,” Jackson said.
As for Lenart, she said she’ll be away from school until November, when she’s done with chemotherapy. In the meantime, others are filling in for her. Kids Hope, which is funded by Brunswick Reformed Church on Grafton Road, links students in need of guidance with mentors from throughout the community.
“We’re going to beat (the cancer). It’s become a bit of a challenge, but we’re going to beat it. I need to get back to the kids,” she said.
Contact Maria Kacik at (330) 721-4049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.