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Girl grows hair to help others

The generous sacrifice of a 10-year-old girl this holiday seasonwill hopefully bring joy to another child in the upcoming year.

Brianna Ashmore, of Brookhaven, hopes to bring a smile tosomeone’s face with the donation of her 10 inches of silky blondhair to Locks of Love, a charity that provides hair pieces tofinancially-disadvantaged children with medical hair loss.

Brianna, the daughter of Jamie and Joanna Ashmore, came up withthe idea after her grandfather, James Ashmore, died on Aug. 20,1999.

“My grandpa had cancer and when he died, I thought this would bea neat idea,” she said. “Maybe it could be a present forsomebody.”

During her grandfather’s battle with colon cancer, Brianna andher father researched the disease, and came across the Locks ofLove web site.

The pair thought it would be nice to be able to help othercancer patients, who usually lose their hair during treatment.Brianna was not sure about letting her shoulder length hair out,but her father had an interesting way of rallying for thecause.

“Her dad challenged her by saying ‘If you don’t do it, I will,'”said Joanna Ashmore.

Brianna could not picture her father with long hair, so shedecided to take on the task in September 1999.

During the winter months that followed, Brianna proudly let herhair grow several inches. She did discover a few obstacles alongthe way, though, especially when the hot summer months arrived.

“I had wanted to get it cut then, but I stuck with it,” saidBrianna, whose other grandparents are Geraldine Ashmore, CarolynThornton and the late Julus Thornton.

Joanna Ashmore is extremely proud of the love for others thather daughter has shown over the last year and a half. She was alsoglad to see her daughter’s persistence towards achieving hergoal.

“She is very strong-willed and has a lot of determination,” saidJoanna Ashmore.

When her hair finally had grown more than 10 inches, which isthe minimum amount for a donation, Brianna was excited aboutsticking with her decision. She couldn’t help but smile and feelgood about her efforts as Wesson hairdresser Angie Lyons snippedaway the hair Saturday.

Brianna made the event extra special by selecting a new,fashionable hair style as a reward for her efforts. Herfive-year-old brother, Austen, had to look twice as Lyons’ stylingwas finished and Brianna turned to face her family with her newlook.

She plans on keeping her hair short for a while, but has notruled out donating more hair to Locks of Love in a few years.

More information about the organization can be found atlocksoflove.org on the Internet.