Julie Anna Densmore
Paulding County Economic Development
PAULDING- Last weekend, stylist Kara Relyea of Hair Off The Square hosted a Cut-A-Thon event to benefit Children With Hair Loss (CWHL), a non-profit organization that makes natural hair wigs for children and young adults with medically-related hair loss.
Held at the Paulding Eagles on Saturday, October 14th, Relyea rallied with friends, family, business owners and members of the community to provide free haircuts, a free will donation dinner and a variety of items for live and silent auction. An Art Me Party with a fall fairy, face painting, glitter tattoos and Justin the Clown were all there to provide plenty of entertainment for the kids.
Relyea’s five-year-old daughter, Aubree, was diagnosed with a form of Alopecia at just three years old. By the time Aubree turned four and was about to start preschool, she had lost all of her hair, eyebrows and eyelashes. Worried about how the kids in school might treat her, Aubree grew insecure and was afraid to go. Needless to say, Relyea was concerned for her daughter who everyone knew to be such a confident child.
Relyea reached out to Children With Hair Loss, and by Aubree’s first day of preschool, CWHL had provided her with a wig. With her sense of security and confidence renewed by the good people at CWHL, Aubree started going without her wig and was soon thriving and loving school.
Wanting to give back to a cause that gave her family so much, Relyea hosted a Cut-A-Thon for hair donations and to raise funds and awareness for CWHL. The Paulding County community did not disappoint. While Relyea had been collecting hair for donation prior to the event, 31 people had their hair cut at the event, and 88 ponytails were donated that night. With prior donations, Relyea had a total of 140 ponytails. With each wig requiring 10 – 20 ponytails, Relyea potentially provided enough natural hair to create 14 wigs. Without the help of CWHL, a family would expect to pay around $1,500 for a natural hair wig.
With free will donations from the dinner provided, and from the donated items for auction, Relyea raised a total of $7,008 the night of the auction. With additional donations and Cut-A-Thon sponsors, the whole event brought in a total of $11,639.
CWHL Founder Regina Villemure informed Relyea that with the exception of the group they partner with known as The Longhairs, Relyea’s Cut-A-Thon brought in the highest amount any Cut-A-Thon has ever raised.
“I just want to say thank you to everyone involved, this was a huge community and group effort and so much was put into it. Every single person involved has made a huge difference in a lot of kids’ lives, and know you are the reason a child will have a boost of confidence. I cannot wait to present everything to Children With Hair Loss on November 3rd,” said Relyea.
A special thanks to the event sponsors and donors which included: Jason Moore; VFW Post 587; attorney Shane Lee; MTJ Farms, Matt and Christy Stoller; Boyd’s Automotive; Gene and Mary Anne Baughman; Dr. Wendell Spangler; Cooper Hatchery; Paulding Eagles; Lisa and Doug Bragg; Black Angus on Main; and numerous clients and friends of the Relyea family who donated towards the event as well.
Also, a special thanks to guest speaker Taylor Hesseling who shared his own story of coping with Alopecia and has helped raise awareness for the disease.
Relyea is planning another Cut-A-Thon 2024 that will differ from this year’s event and hopes the community will join in again next year.
For more ways you can help children with hair loss, visit childrenwithhairloss.org.