Saints grab shears for benefit

Published 10:06 pm Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Titus Mohler/Suffolk news-HErald Donation: Nansemond-Suffolk volleyball players Quinby Hines, Brooks Gillerlain, and Lizzy Fowler show off their shortened hair after having donated about 10 inches apiece to Locks of Love, a group that helps to make wigs for cancer patients. (Titus Mohler)

Three Nansemond-Suffolk Academy girl’s volleyball players got haircuts before Tuesday evening’s game against visiting Bishop Sullivan as part of a Dig Pink breast cancer awareness fundraiser.

Senior Quinby Hines and sophomores Lizzy Fowler and Brooks Gillerlain each had about 10 inches trimmed off to be donated to Locks of Love, an organization that helps to make wigs for cancer patients and others who need hair.

NSA varsity girls’ volleyball coach Robyn Ross sees unique significance in a donation of this kind given how easy breast cancer awareness events can become — sometimes little more than an excuse to wear pink.

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“That’s why them doing the ponytail makes it a little more special for me that these girls are sort of grasping the concept of a bigger picture and a bigger world out there than just what’s happening in their school,” Ross said. “A lot of the girls, their long hair is kind of like their identity. So, they understand that eight to 10 inches of their hair is a complete game-changer for that little girl that’s going to get pretty blond hair now.”

Hines, Fowler, and Gillerlain were following in the footsteps of Ross and junior Kaylor Nash, who got their hair cut last year. Ross actually had been donating her hair long before then for a very personal reason and was simply taking that tradition to school with her.

“My mom died of cancer when I was in college and so after each kid (I’ve given birth to), I would cut off my hair and send it in,” she said. “Last year, I had just had a kid and so Kaylor and I were the first ones to cut our ponytails off.”

For the three girls, it was a big commitment.

“Yeah, I love my hair,” Hines said with a laugh. “I know it really means a lot to my coach, because she did it last year. That’s mainly what motivated me to do it.”

“I just keep thinking about that little girl who doesn’t have any hair and just wants (at least) some hair and so I think I can give her my own,” Gillerlain said.

“The way I kept on thinking about it is that someone else needs it more than I do,” Fowler said.

This was a small feature of a night that was dedicated to raising money that would be donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which is dedicated to breast cancer research and education. NSA does not charge for attendance at volleyball games, but the school encouraged donations for all those who came, and the money from concessions also was donated.

The event was organized by NSA’s Breast Cancer Awareness Club.

Both NSA and Bishop Sullivan JV and varsity teams were, of course, adorned in pink for their game.

“I think now it’s hard to find people who aren’t touched by cancer in some way or another, be it family or friend,” Ross said. “There’s girls on the team that their moms have survived breast cancer. It’s more than just a ponytail, and it’s more than just a pink jersey, I think, to us.”