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Two local girls have a lot less hair but still a lot of love in their hearts thanks to a recent donation to Locks of Love.
Five-year-old Ruby Ahlers of Clearwater and 9-year-old Isabelle Pitzer of Oakdale recently decided it was time to give up most of their flowing blond hair in the name of helping others. They both chopped off 10 inches of their hair to give toward wigs for children with cancer.
Ruby is the daughter of Ryan and Jeana Ahlers and is a kindergartner at Clearwater-Orchard. Isabelle is the daughter of Wade and Carrie Pitzer and a fourth-grader at Neligh-Oakdale.
Always A Princess
Ruby loves Rapunzel and let her long hair flow past her waist. She wanted to be just like the princess.
"Me and her dad would brush her hair every day," Jeana said. "We talked to her about getting it cut and donating to a little girl who was sick."
Jeana, who is a physician's assistant at Sunny Meadows in Norfolk, has donated to Locks of Love in the past.
But when the day of Ruby's milestone haircut came, it wasn't planned. In fact, it was her 3-year-old brother, Gus, who was getting the haircut.
The more they talked about cutting her hair, the more agreeable Ruby became. Sitting in the Razor's Edge in Neligh, Aimee Bartak gave Ruby's long blond hair a snip and the first ponytail came off.
"She started getting teary and said, 'No, I want to keep my long hair,' " Jeana said.
Her mother calmly reminded her that although it was hard to give up the hair, it would help someone - and it would grow longer after being cut. Just like that, Ruby was fine, and the haircut continued. All 10 inches of it.
Now Ruby is growing her beautiful hair out again. How long will it be?
"She wants it down to her butt again," her mom said with a chuckle.
Helping Feels Good
Isabelle hasn't had short hair since she was a toddler, so the new style is the shortest she can remember her hair ever being.
She was worried she'd be sad about not having her long locks, but that wasn't the case at all. She looked in the mirror and squealed.
"I'm not sad anymore because I know what's going to happen to it," Isabelle said, beaming from ear to ear. "It's going to go to someone very special, a sweet child who has cancer. She's going to get 10 inches of hair."
The idea stemmed from a TeamMates scrapbooking event last year. She was looking through photos while Jenny Higgins of Neligh scrapbooked. Isabelle noticed a photo of Jenny's daughter, Rachel, when she was young.
Rachel's hair was short, and Jenny explained that Rachel has twice donated her hair to Locks of Love.
"That got me thinking," Isabelle said.
Like Ruby, Isabelle hadn't planned that dramatic of a haircut. Isabelle's haircut was last minute - booked a couple of hours earlier - with plans for a trim. When she sat in the chair, she decided to cut off three or four inches.
And then she decided to take the plunge, chop of 10 inches and donate it.
What was she thinking about as she saw Aimee cutting it? A classmate, Sidney McConnell, who had cancer as a toddler.
"I don't know if she had a wig, but I remember a video of when she got done with cancer and I thought it was awesome that she beat cancer," said Isabelle.
And donating the hair felt awesome, too, she said.
Isabelle is no stranger to volunteering either. She often helps at community events beside her parents.
Where ever and whenever her parents are donating their time, Isabelle is almost always right beside them helping out as well.
So it's really no surprise Isabelle said she's going to donate to Locks of Love again.
"I'm going to do this once a year. It makes me feel good to help someone. I want to feel like this all of the time," she said. "I want to be a caring and helpful person when I grow up. I want to be somebody who helps the community."