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Lots of hair for Locks of Love
Date published: 12/4/2007
Celeste Pettyjohn's hair measured 55 inches from the top of her head to the tip of her tresses. It had been growing uncut for six years. Two worthy causes beckoned: Locks of Love, a charity that helps children who have lost their hair, and her school's support for South African schoolchildren. It was time for a haircut.
Pettyjohn has been a teaching assistant at the Stafford campus of Fredericksburg Christian Schools for the past two years. She also is a licensed ship's captain--actually a third-generation ship's captain--and has commanded, among others, the Cherry Blossom, a stern-wheeler tour boat out of Alexandria that plies the Potomac River.
Her light brown hair has been cut twice in the past 16 years. She had grown it for 10 years before It was cut in a Reston salon. That resulted, she said, "in a disaster." After that, she carefully nurtured it and just let it grow.
A friend and fellow teacher at Fredericksburg Christian Schools, Heather Wright, recommended her stylist, Sarah Andersen, at the Curves salon in Manassas. Pettyjohn went and looked and made an appointment for last Thursday. Andersen, a stylist for 10 years, also is a supporter of Locks of Love.
It was a perfect match.
The tresses from Pettyjohn's previous haircut had been donated to Locks of Love, a nonprofit charity organized in 1997 and based in Florida. The hair it receives is used to weave wigs for children who have lost their own hair through radiation therapy, severe burns, trauma or disease. Clients range in age from 6 to 18 years old.
The Manassas appointment took an hour and 10 minutes. The hair was banded into three ponytails, each 30 inches long. When these were cut, Pettyjohn was left with 2-foot-long hair. Her new style was then shampooed, blow-dried and repeatedly combed and brushed and fluffed.
"She's going to make somebody very happy." Wright said. "Usually, it takes up to 12 ponytails to make one wig. The three from Celeste should make one by themselves."
How did Pettyjohn feel after it was over? "Much lighter," she said, and smiled in the mirror.
The next day, at the students' morning chapel, Pettyjohn got a round of applause.
Her haircut also was a fundraiser for one of the school's major sponsorships abroad, tuition support for black South African students. A year's tuition is $360. For each student's donation in honor of The Cut, a colored paper scissors went on the bulletin board. Different color, different amount, from $1 to $20. In the last three weeks alone, $356 was raised.Hugh Muir: 540/735-1975