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Haircuts for a cause

Krystle Wagner • May 27, 2016 at 12:00 PM

SPRING LAKE — “Three, two, one!” students yelled and cheered as a hairstylist clipped several inches of hair from a classmate on Thursday.

Throughout the day, students from St. Mary’s Catholic School and community members took turns sitting in three stylists’ chairs to donate their hair to Wigs 4 Kids. In total, 38 people donated hair toward the cause through an event hosted by Kristen Christoffersen’s fourth-grade class from the Spring Lake school.

The non-profit organization provides wigs to children and young adults at no cost. Clients include patients who have hair loss from cancer, trichotillomania, burns and alopecia.

In order to donate hair, the donations must be at least 9 inches long.

When Dutch Ringelberg walked into the school on Thursday, his hair reached the middle of his back. The Grand Haven man has grown his hair the past three years for the opportunity to donate it. He said his donation is a way to honor his late wife, Paula Palo, who fought breast cancer for seven years and died in 2001.

As stylist Jenette Sanderson cut Ringelberg’s hair, his wife, Linda Dimitroff, said she was happy for him because it’s going for a good cause to help children.

Ringelberg, a bus driver for Spring Lake Public Schools, said he expected his riders Thursday afternoon will be surprised when they get a look at him with short hair.

While students offered Ringelberg refreshments, he smiled and said he enjoyed being there.

“It’s a hoot,” he said.

It’s the second time Christoffersen’s class has hosted the event. The first time occurred in 2013. Since then, some students immediately started growing their hair out to donate it once again. 

Fourth-grader Ella Alban was among those students donating their hair for the second time. She said everyone making a hair donation should be happy about their decision.

“I think they should be proud of themselves because they’re giving kids hair,” Alban said.

Sanderson sectioned Carol Ventocilla’s hair before making the initial cuts to remove almost 12 inches. Ventocilla, 12, said she was excited to be among the group donating their hair because it meant more children would be helped.

“I can make someone who doesn’t have hair get their confidence back,” she said.

A personal connection with helping clients who have had cancer led Sanderson to volunteer to cut hair on Thursday. Sanderson said she’s helped clients with wigs, and it “completely changed their outlook.”

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