Students pursue hair help campaign

Published 7:00 pm Friday, January 7, 2011

Students at Loyd Star Attendance Center gathered in thegymnasium Thursday morning to receive a few extra lessons.

However, the students did not meet to see the Hornets throw downa few hoops. Instead, the students got a crash course in cancerfrom a few special substitute teachers, so they could betterunderstand a current school initiative.

“Cancer is very serious, it’s a long cry from a chest cold, butit can be overcome,” said Sherman Nunn, cancer survivor and aproduction manager at WLBT. “I think the biggest thing overall,things don’t always have to end the direction they’re headed.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

From Dunn and former student Adam Smith, students learned aboutthe challenges of cancer, various forms of treatment and the harshreality of the illness’ frequency in society.

“Change is the very definition of cancer itself,” said Nunn.”Current statistics tell me one in three people will developcancer, one in four people will not survive.”

It was not by chance that a few guest speakers decided to give acouple unordinary lessons. The lectures ensued so students couldbetter understand a current school project, which is to grow hairand donate the strands to WLBT’s Great Lengths campaign.

WLBT is partnering with St. Dominic Cancer Services in Jacksonand the American Cancer Society on a drive that encourages peopleto grow, cut and donate 8 inches of their hair to create wigs forwomen who have lost their hair due to cancer.

“I’m learning more and more people are getting cancer,” saidBarbie Bassett, WLBT chief meteorologist. “The wigs at St. Dominicare getting less and less.”

While grownups and professionals did all the talking during theassembly, it is through the efforts of first-grade student OliviaKimble that inspired the school to take part in the promotion.

Watching the Great Lengths commercial, Kimble questioned hermom, Melinda Kimble, about why people cut their hair. When MelindaKimble explained to her daughter that it was for people goingthrough cancer, Olivia Kimble questioned “like my Pappie?”

“She was the one that came to me,” said Melinda Kimble. “Shetold me that she wanted to make a little girl smile.”

Olivia Kimble observed her grandfather’s fight with cancer, whopassed away from the illness in May of 2009. However, it is throughher life experiences and upstanding personality that have helpedOlivia Kimble encourage a school.

“I’m excited to see how Olivia has motivated this school, thistown, this county to cut hair,” said Bassett.

An inquiry from a young student led to a letter from a proudparent, which led to the WLBT team members’ visit to help pushstudents to donate their hair to assist Olivia Kimble’s efforts ofraising cancer awareness among her peers.

“I look at this little 6-year-old girl and all she wants to dois make some little girl happy,” said Melinda Kimble. “Sometimesthe best messages come from a child’s voice.”

From now until Feb. 27, Melinda Kimble will be accepting hairdonations through Loyd Star Attendance Center or throughparticipating hairdressers in Loyd Star and the surroundingcommunities. Participating hairdressers will be displaying a purpleribbon outside their salons.

Giving someone a few locks of hair may not seem like much of agift, but the generous donation could be an encouragement forsurvival.

“It’s a big deal, it helps them with hope,” said Amy Sharpe,cancer nurse at St. Dominic Hospital. “It gives them a little bitof control to have a wig.”

The event concluded with additional encouragement from principaland cancer survivor Robin Case.

“The one thing we can do is give these people going throughcancer is hope,” said Case. “Anything you can do to make a cancer(victim’s) life easier, it means a lot.”

Interested participants can visit for more information on theschool’s campaign and the requirements for donating hair.