'Summer cut' for IT staffers becomes gift for children in need

For a group of four women from Bemidji State University’s technology services office, the traditional “summer cut,” where hair grown long to offer some protection from the Bemidji winter is downsized to emphasize comfort during warmer weather, has provided a loving gift for children in need and a challenge to others on campus.

BSU_Tech_Ladies_Collage-webThe women donated a total 52 inches of their hair to Children with Hair Loss, an organization that offers human hair replacements at no cost to children with medical conditions affecting their hair. The organization provides free customized human hair replacement and care for more than 300 children each year.

The group includes:
• Marie Bock, IT specialist with Information Technology Services
• Deb Cornell, server manager with Programming, Network and Servers
• Theresa Perreault, tech support analyst and D2L support with Information Technology Services
• Jennifer Theisen, programmer and analyst with Programming, Network and Servers

• Before and after photo, left to right: Theisen, Bock, Cornell, Perreault

“Marie and I were discussing cutting our hair for spring, and we decided to see how many other ladies in the department were thinking of cutting theirs, too,” Cornell said. “My daughter and I have both donated in the past. With Children With Hair Loss, I liked the fact that kids get wigs for no cost.”

Cornell’s daughter is also contributing 11 inches of her hair to the group’s total.

“I got involved because it was for a good cause,” Perreault said. “I’ve donated my hair a couple times before. I really like CWHL because kids get the wigs for free.”

While Perreault had donated her hair before, others in the group were doing this for the first time.

“This is the first time I have donated my hair,” Theisen said. “I was a bit nervous about how short I had to cut it, as I’ve only gone short two other times in my life. We all knew we wanted to be able to give to kids and Children With Hair Loss seemed to be the best fit for all of us.”

The IT group has challenged other offices at BSU to donate and match or surpass its donation of 52 inches of hair. Business Services has accepted the challenge; one staffer has donated 11 inches to Locks of Love, and another has a hair appointment later in the week that will result in a donation to Children With Hair Loss.

Jennifer Theisen, programmer & analyst, Programming, Network & Servers; (218) 755-2110

About Children with Hair Loss
Children With Hair Loss was created in Sept. 2000 after its founders discovered there were no organizations providing no-cost human hair replacements for children with medical conditions that led to hair loss. The organization was founded with a goal of never charging a family at a time when they needed the most help. Originally focused on children fighting cancer, the group has now expanded to support children suffering from burns, Alopecia and other rare diseases and disorders that can lead to hair loss. The organization provides customized human hair replacements and care kits to over 300 children a year, and in keeping with its original mission has never charged a child’s family for its services.

Children with Hair Loss