Children Moved To Help Other Children With Cancer

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Smiles and excitement were plentiful at Payson Day Spa and Salon last week as six girls had their hair cut for Locks of Love.

Catalina Coppelli, 7, invited her classmates at Payson Community Christian School to participate.

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Catalina Coppelli, 7, smiles as hairdresser Kelly Nemire cuts her hair for Locks of Love at Payson Day Spa and Salon.

She said she thought of the idea after a student at her school, 17-year-old Julia Griffith, passed away in February from a rare form of cancer.

"I'm doing it to help people with cancer," Catalina said. "And it will be easier to take care of my short hair."

Locks of Love estimates that 80 percent of all donations come from children wishing to help other children, according to its Web site.

"These girls are so brave," said Ramona Coppelli, Catalina's mother. "They have such big hearts."

Seven others gave donations in advance, Coppelli said as she placed three ponytails of brown hair and one of blonde into separate bags.

The minimum length required for a hairpiece is 10 inches, although Locks of Love accepts and sells 6- to 10-inch pieces to help reduce the cost of making wigs.

It takes six to 10 donations of similar hair to make one hairpiece, the value of which ranges from $3,500 to $6,000.

Karson Ross, 7, said she has never had short hair before cutting it last week.

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Catalina Coppelli proudly holds 10 inches of her hair bundled into a ponytail for a Locks of Love donation.

"I'm going to cut off 10 inches," said Karson, whose hair falls below her waistline.

The girls were not the only ones to show their support.

Parent Heather Driscoll-Lowe, whose son, Gabriel, is in the first grade with Catalina, was the first to agree to snip her locks.

"My sister had a brain tumor removed two years ago," Driscoll-Lowe said. "I told her if she had radiation and lost her hair, I would shave mine off. Her hair didn't fall out, but I'm doing this to respect her."

Catalina also convinced Rebecca Jones, 14.

"Catalina asked me to do it," Rebecca said. "I used to be a teacher's aide for her kindergarten class."

This is the first time the spa has made a group appointment for donations, said Kelly Nemire, Catalina's hair designer.

"I've had donations done individually, but not as a group," Nemire said. "This is very special."

Catalina, who was the first to get her locks shortened, winced as the scissors chopped through her ponytail. After looking in the mirror she began to tear, but then smiled as she proudly held up a dripping bundle of her hair.

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