Teen donates long locks of hair to encourage aunt facing colon cancer

Published 4:02 pm Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Virginia Bowyer lets a friend braid her long brown locks. Soon Bowyer, and potentially others, will cut their hair to donate to her aunt and others facing chemotherapy. (photo submitted)

Virginia Bowyer lets a friend braid her long brown locks. Soon Bowyer, and potentially others, will cut their hair to donate to her aunt and others facing chemotherapy. (photo submitted)

When 16-year-old Virginia Bowyer heard that her aunt, Brenda Pettit, had been stricken with colon cancer, she said immediately, “She can have my hair.”
Bowyer’s hair, her crowning glory, stretches all the way down her back, as lovely as a waterfall. She cut it once four years ago as a fifth grader, and now she’s a freshman at Polk Early College.
“My aunt’s going through chemo, which makes her lose her hair, and I thought it would mean something to her to have hair from her own family,” Bowyer said. “She’s family, and she’s going through a tough time. I wanted to do something thoughtful, especially something that could give her beauty back.”
Bowyer needs to raise $800 in order to make a wig from her own hair for her aunt, and donations for the cause can be contributed through the office of Mary Greene, principal of Polk County Early College, 51 Walker Street in Columbus, at phone number 828-894-2698.
“I did some research into how I can make my hair into a wig to go to her,” Bowyer said.
Bowyer’s mother, Anita Skipper Bowyer, said that Virginia Bowyer chose Comfort and Care over Locks of Love and other companies because the Comfort and Care company allows wigs to be made for specific individuals and doesn’t require a lot of qualifying paperwork from the person who’s receiving the wig. The company will make a wig starting at around $800.00. If Bowyer sends in all the money up front, the company offers a five percent discount.
Bowyer attributed her commitment to helping others partly to being raised to care, and partly to the strengths of her school program, which is the first virtual early college program in North Carolina. Bowyer’s school provides college credit computer-based courses for high school students.
“Polk Early College offers a lot of fun and freedom,” she said. “I have time to do more meaningful stuff.”
Bowyer’s mother said that the school had been very supportive.
“They will make a poster of her hair and display it at school,” Skipper Bowyer said. “As they raise the money for the wig, they will move the scissors up. When the scissors get to the point of destination, they will have a hair cutting ceremony for all to attend. Annie Moss, at Uptown Girl in Columbus, has agreed to do the cutting.”
Bowyer said she was willing to take on odd jobs, such as cleaning stalls or doing other chores, to raise more money for the wig.
Every dime will make a difference to this cause. If Virginia Bowyer sends in more than one ponytail of 10 inches, she will get a discount of $100, so if anyone else would like to contribute healthy hair to make wigs for people who need them, that person can be part of the hair-cutting party, too.
Bowyer attends church at The Well in Landrum, and she participates on the high school shooting team. She would like to be a forest ranger or game warden in the future.
“I like being outside and I like animals,” she said. “I also volunteer at Polk County Transportation. One of the workers has stage four cancer, and I’m volunteering there to help with her work so she still gets her paycheck. I enter data, organize files and do clerical stuff.”
Her mother said that Bowyer’s sister, Savanna, and her father, David, also feel very proud of Bowyer for wanting to help her aunt as well as she could.
“We are a tight-knit family,” her mother said.

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