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THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan
THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan
Nine women, including Ana Santos (far right and inset), and 47 men shaved their heads at St. John's University to raise money for child cancer research.

Ana Santos only flinched once as all her hair fell to the ground. 

The 30-year-old former St. John’s University student was one of nine women and 47 men to shave their heads Thursday during a child cancer research fundraiser in the school’s student center.

“Hair is nothing,” the East Meadow speech pathologist said. “We’ve lost a lot of people in my family to cancer. There’s nothing more important than health and their lives.”

Santos donated a foot of hair and went bald for the first time to mirror her loved ones still battling the disease.

“Everyone in my family with cancer is bald right now,” she said. “I was crying before I got here. I’m trying to give them all my strength to let them know they can get through it.”

Santos held her tears back, periodically checking out her new do on her phone.

But 21-year-old Jackie Herro opened up the floodgates, when flashbacks of her boyfriend Chris, who succumbed to cancer in 2011, raced through her mind.

“It was very emotional knowing I was doing it for Chris,” the Red Storm senior said. “I cried even more when I looked down in the crowd and saw how many people were there to support me. They were happy tears.”

Herro had more than a foot of her bleached blonde hair snipped off, raising more than $7,000 for the cause.

“I would go up and do it again,” she said. “There’s no other feeling like it.”

The Johnnies, in the event’s fifth year, raised more than $35,000 for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. And 26 others chopped off at least eight inches of hair to donate to Locks of Love.

“All these students are learning at a young age what adults take a lifetime to learn,” former St. Baldrick’s chairman John Bender said, “the importance of giving back and being involved in something larger than yourself.”

“They’ll take this experience with them,” he said.

 

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