Steamboat Springs Rebecca Lea's father - who lost his hair from chemotherapy treatments for lung cancer - wanted her to grow out her hair to make him a wig. He died in 2000 - before she had a chance to honor his request.
Lea cut her waist-long hair on Feb. 21, and donated it to the nonprofit organization Locks of Love, in memory of her father.
"They use it for kids who have permanently lost their hair because of alopecia areata, an autoimmune skin disease," Lea said. "And for kids who have had severe burns or radiation treatments, and can never grow it back."
Lea got the "royal treatment" from Mountain Cuts Inc. hair stylist Cherratina Pankey.
"She spend probably an hour and a half on me, and she expected me to cry," Lea said. "I said 'I don't think so,' and I haven't had a moment of regret."
Lea cut off 16 inches of hair, which is enough to make two wigs.
"It take 84 hours to make a wig because every single strand is hand tied," she said. "It costs $1,200 to pay people to do it, and most of the organization is run by volunteers."
Lea's life has been easier with her new short do.
"My hair was so long that I was forever getting it caught in my car's automatic seatbelt," she said." And I got to the point where most of the clips I was using to hold it up, weren't holding it anymore."
It took Lea two hours from start to finish, to wash and curl her hair.
"On Wednesday, I didn't want to mess with two hours of moisturizing, texturing and curling," she said. "So I walked into Mountain Cuts and said, 'I am going to do this.'"
Pankey was more than happy to donate her services to cut Lea's hair because her husband is currently battling brain cancer.
"Her husband has a brain tumor, and that was what eventually killed my father," Lea said. "It was like we were supposed to talk to each other."
Pankey has given 12 other haircuts for individuals who have donated their hair to Locks of Love.
"It's just nice to see how many people care and can give such a wonderful part of themselves - especially for kids," she said. "I've been thrown into this with cancer hitting my family the way it has."
Her husband has suffered from seizures, complete hair loss, he was temporary partially paralyzed and has had a brain tumor the size of a fist removed.
People like Lea give her hope.
"It is a very selfless act and there are not too many of those in the world," Pankey said. "It's just nice to be part of that."
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