DOWNERS GROVE – Anya Konieczka of Downers Grove has cut her hair three times to donate for use as a wig.
What made the third time different was that she convinced five other people to join her.
The fifth-grader at Lester School organized a hair donation drive to help earn her Girl Scout Bronze Award.
Anya hosted the drive May 9 at Galleria Hair Salon and Day Spa, where her stylist, Jen Jagger, trimmed her hair to shoulder length.
Anya said she was first inspired to donate her hair when a friend of her mother, Christina, had cancer.
She learned that the image of cutting her hair shorter could spur other people into action.
“I inspired another little girl at our church to do it,” she said. “If I can inspire her, I can inspire others to do it, too.”
Anya said she spent six months planning the drive, designing fliers and figuring out how to organize it.
Christina said they also needed the time to let the donors grow their hair out.
“I’m very proud that [Anya’s] not only giving her hair but inspired others to do the same,” she said.
To show their thanks, Pantene and Locks of Love will award Anya and other scouts who donate their hair with a special badge for their vests.
Anya chose the Pantene program for her hair because it gives its wigs for free.
“With all the other things Pantene does, with shampoos and conditioners and stuff, they can spare a little bit of money,” she said.
Anya said it’s hard to convince some girls to cut their hair because they love their long hair so much.
“I want to do this because it feels so right when you do it and you know you’re going to help someone who does not have hair,” she said.
For her, there also are benefits to having shorter hair.
“I kind of like it shorter because then it’s not as hard to brush and wash and it’s just so much easier, although I’m going to miss doing braids and stuff,” she said.