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Valhalla Students Snip Hair for Cancer Donations

Fifth grader Isabella Ruane sat down to the snipping sounds of scissors for the first time on Monday when she donated eight inches of her hair to Panteen Beautiful Lengths for cancer patients' wigs. She held long bunches of her hair in her hands after they were cut and smiled as her friends stood nearby taking pictures of her.

"I'm shocked," she said. "I was really scared at first, but I'm happy to donate my hair to a good cause."

Ruane was only one of nearly 30 students in Valhalla School District who donated at least eight inches of hair in the Kensico Elementary School's library.

Claudia Floryshak, testing coordinator, spearheaded the event for the first time two years ago when she was teaching fifth grade, in memory of her mother who died 20 years ago from cancer. She said the first hair donations included less than 10 students but the numbers nearly tripled this year to 26 kids and 7 adults participating.

"The response has been overwhelming," Floryshak said.

Sisters Kyra and Jaime Pfeifer were some of the first girls to chop their locks for donations and each contributed eight inches to the cause.

"They were very excited to donate and love their new haircuts," mother Denise Pfeifer said.

Hairdressers from Yorktown's Lorese Salon and Spa and Tuckahoe's Salon Delian manned a line of chairs inside the library to which students and family members took turns donating inches of their hair.

"I'm amazed by the response," Lorese owner Kathy Forese said. "It's such a selfless thing to do for such a great cause."

Lorese Salon and Spa gives cancer patients makeovers each month through the Look Good Feel Better program. Floryshak visits the Yorktown salon often and said they helped her generate the idea at the school.

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