Sisters cut hair to help others – Emporia Gazette

Payten Redeker always loved having long hair, but when she visited her stylist for a trim, she learned she could help someone in need.

Redeker asked stylist Aimee Morris for suggestions in changing up her look, and Morris suggested cutting off and donating the hair to cancer patients.

“Originally, it wasn’t my idea,” Payten Redeker, 15, said. “I just wanted a haircut and my hair dresser suggested it. I did it because having long hair makes it difficult to do certain things, like play sports. It got in the way, and I was ready for a change.”

That was in 2014, and Redeker said she felt so good after donating, that she wanted to do it a second time.

“I had been growing out my hair for over three years,” she said. “I decided to cut it again because I wanted to donate it and help someone in need again. Both times I donated, I cut off 12 inches. The minimum donation was eight inches.”

Redeker’s sister, Morgan, decided she wanted to follow her younger sister’s lead and donate also.

“The first time I donated, I cut off 10 inches of my hair,” Morgan Redeker said. “I had been wanting to cut my hair and my mom suggested since Payten donated, I should, too. I thought about it and loved the idea of donating my curly hair to someone in need. After I did it, I was so happy knowing someone was going to benefit from something I no longer needed.”

Morgan Redeker donated to Locks of Love, a public, non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children under age 21, suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis.

“At the time, I wasn’t aware of other organizations,” she said. “My hope was that whoever received my hair, loved it as much as I did. I hope they felt more self-confident and beautiful. My goal is to be able to donate again in the future, but to a different organization.”

Payten Redeker donated to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, an organization that helps women battling cancer. Pantene has collected more than 600,000 ponytails and has provided the funds to create more than 34,000 free, real-hair wigs, which are distributed through select American Cancer Society wig banks across the country.

“I donated to Pantene Beautiful Lengths because they donate their wigs to the cancer patients,” she said. “The other organizations I was considering charged patients for the wigs.”

Payten and Morgan’s mother, Ginger Redeker, said she was proud of her daughters for helping others who were going through difficult times.

“It was a great feeling when the girls said they wanted to donate their hair,” Ginger Redeker said. “I loved their long hair and I knew they did, too. I asked them both if they were sure they wanted to cut off that much and if that was what they really wanted to do.”

Both girls told their mother they wanted to help someone who was battling an illness feel normal and beautiful again.

“We know several people who have gone through chemo and have lost their hair,” Ginger Redeker said. “It makes me so proud to think of them both wanting to give their hair to someone else they don’t even know. Payten researched to make sure she was donating to an organization that didn’t charge patients for the wigs they made from her hair. It’s pretty awesome that Payten donated her hair twice now. I’m so proud of her and Morgan.”

Payten Redeker said the feeling of helping someone else was such a great one, that she would do it again.

“After donating, I felt like so much weight was taken off,” she said. “It was nice to have different options for my hair, but more importantly, I felt fortunate to be able to help someone in need. I feel like it meant a lot to the donation recipient, because it is stressful enough for them to be in that tough of a situation. I love that this could help them feel and look more like themselves during their treatments.”