Three women donate hair in the name of cancer

Monday, April 21, 2008 | 3:05 p.m. CDT; updated 4:13 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008
Ilana Weiss measures out her hair in front of a mirror at the Off Broadway Salon and Boutique on Thursday. Weiss and two of her roommates cut their hair as a donation towards wigs for cancer patients.

COLUMBIA — In honor of grandmothers, friends and women everywhere, a combined 24 inches of hair was clipped from the heads of three women last week and donated to Pantene Beautiful Lengths.

Pantene works with Hair U Wear, a company that creates wigs to be distributed to patients through the American Cancer Society.


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Frances Landis, 21, Ilana Weiss, 20, and Kathleen Cronin, 20, each chopped 8 inches off their hair to help make half a wig for women battling cancer and undergoing treatment. It takes six ponytails and a total of at least 48 inches to make one wig.

Each of the women had a grandmother who died of breast or lung cancer, which provided the motivation to grow enough hair to donate.

When they arrived at the Off Broadway Salon and Boutique near Second Street, the three roommates had hair past their shoulders.

Weiss, who had straight brown hair to the middle of her back, said she was terrified.

She worried that a short cut would be a mistake and said she was “afraid they wouldn’t want my hair.”

Prior to her appointment, Landis searched the Web for short hairstyles and decided on a chin-length cut.

“My boyfriend Photoshopped different hairstyles on my head to see how they looked,” she said.

The three women decided on their own they wanted to cut and give away their hair. One night while sitting in the upstairs hallway near the bathroom in their apartment, each had confessed their desire to help women cancer patients.

Landis’ hair was the shortest of the three, so they wanted to wait until she had enough hair to cut and style.

Weiss donated her hair in honor of her grandmother, Barbara Martin, who battled breast cancer before facing lung cancer. She died last year.

Landis donated her wavy, two-toned sandy-brown hair in honor of her grandmother, Maryann McGoron, who died of lung cancer.

Cronin donated her blonde hair in honor of her great-grandmother and many friends of her mother’s who have lost their hair undergoing treatment.

“I want to donate enough in my lifetime to make a wig by myself,” Weiss said.

For more information on Beautiful Lengths, go to

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