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A PRICELESS GIFT: HAIRCUT TURNS INTO EMOTIONAL JOUNREY

Lisa SlussThis wasnt a typical haircut for Vanessa McKenzie.

It was a heartfelt journey.

McKenzie, who serves as an instructor for Big Sandy Community and Technical Colleges cosmetology program on its Mayo campus, was going through a routine day with her students. They were learning the tips and trades of styling hair.

However, on this day, a haircut changed a persons life.

Lisa Sluss, of Lowmansville, who has battled diabetes for the last eight years, didnt want a haircut for styling purposes. Instead, it was all about her quality of life.
Because of debilitating migraine headaches, Sluss was wanting her long hair cut to help alleviate the pain.

I went to several places and they would just encourage me to keep it because they said it was beautiful, said Sluss, who also has to go to dialysis to help manage her diabetes.

The haircut was more than just a shot at relief. Lisa sobbed each snip to trim her hair as she had made a promise to her now-deceased mom that she would never cut her hair. Thats when McKenzie and her student, Jennifer Adkins, mentioned the Wigs for Kids program.

For over 30 years, Wigs for Kids has been providing hair replacement systems and support for children who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy, radiation therapy, burns and other medical issues at no cost to children or their families.

To know this was going to a child that needed it, made it so much better, said Sluss. If I had a child in this situation, I would hope someone would be there to help.

McKenzie said she does two or more wig donations a month, and it is always a touching moment for everyone involved.

Ive been teaching for 20 years, and it never gets old to share in the joy of those who are making the decision to donate their hair, she said. They give of themselves to help others, and Im blessed to be a part of that.

For more information on BSCTCs Cosmetology program, please contact McKenzie at (606) 788-2826, Ext. 82826 or email vanessa.mckenzie@kctcs.edu.