Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Pantene Beautfiul Lengths Girl Scout Patch Program--After the Event

Earlier this summer, I published a post to share that Pantene Beautiful Lengths and Girl Scouts of Western Ohio (GSWO) partnered to create a Girl Scout Patch Program to promote a Hair Donation Event at Proctor and Gamble in downtown Cincinnati on Monday, August 3, 2015.  I decided to write another post to provide details about our hair donation experience in case readers have interest in replicating the event in their own communities.  


In 2011, my mother-in-law lost her battle with brain cancer.  On several occasions since her passing, my daughters and I have grown out our hair and donated an 8" ponytail to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. When I told my daughters about the Girl Scout patch, they were SUPER excited to participate! 

We reviewed the badge requirements (please refer to my previous post for details), and my daughters chose the steps they wanted to complete.  As a Girl Scout troop leader, I appreciated that the steps were easy enough for the girls to complete without too much help from an adult, there were many fun options to choose from, and there was little to no cost involved. For Section 1, they chose to take the Myth or Truth Quiz, and they practiced three different ways to braid hair.  To satisfy the requirements for Section 2, we visited the Pantene website and watched some of the hair donation stories.  We discussed these stories as a family.  In addition to donating an 8" ponytail, they made cards for patients being served by Hospice of Cincinnati to complete Section 3.  
The girls selected some heart-print scrapbook paper and Pink Awareness Ribbon glitter stickers and got started on the cards.  With my supervision, they searched for encouraging phrases and inspirational verses to write inside the cards.  Knowing that other people may not share our faith, we trusted that the Hospice nurses would distribute the cards to patients appropriately.  These verses were handwritten inside the cards:
  • Romans 15:13  May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • Jeremiah 29:11  "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
  • Joshua 1:9  "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."
  • "Smile and let everyone know that you are stronger today than you were yesterday."
  • "You are much stronger than you think.  You are in my thoughts."
  • "Don't lose hope.  You never know what tomorrow will bring.  Stay strong!"
  • "Just in case you need reminding, you are beautiful.  Thinking of you.  Stay strong!"
On August 3, 2015, my daughters and I joined about 80 individuals who graciously decided to donate their hair to help women who have lost their hair to cancer treatments.  After strong storms swept through the area during the morning hours and threatened to force the event indoors, it ended up being a beautiful sunny afternoon.  When checking in, we received an event t-shirt and a drawstring bag full gifts, including a full-size bottle of Pantene shampoo and conditioner and a Pantene Beautiful Lengths Sweaty Band.  We made our way over to the photo booth and had some "before" photos taken by a professional photographer. 
We were asked to visit a stylist to get our hair measured and prepared for the donation.  Our hair was gathered into several different smaller ponytails.  The stylist secured the hair with a series of elastic bands so the person cutting the hair would know where to make the cut.
Once our ponytails had been prepped, the girls had time to get in line for a mini manicure.  They chose between three different Cover Girl nail polish colors for the base coat (I apologize I didn't pay much attention to the specifics, but I can tell you someone said it was a 3-in-1 polish, and there was a light pink, a bright pink, and a purple).  They chose a second color for an awareness ribbon that was painted on their ring fingers. 
Around 1pm, it was time for the event to officially begin, so we found our seats.  About a dozen Girl Scouts were present to receive the special patch and pin they earned by participating in the patch program.  Some girls donated a ponytail, and they received an additional scissor pin to add to the patch.  

One of the featured speakers was Katherine Nero, a local news anchor on Good Morning Tri-State.  She shared her story as a breast cancer survivor and encouraged listeners to conduct monthly self examinations and to be proactive about our health with our healthcare providers.
Then it was the moment we'd all been waiting for!  Scissors were distributed and stylists moved through the crowd to ensure all donors had someone to cut the ponytails.  It required a bit of shuffling, but I was able to cut my daughter's hair, and my girls worked together to cut mine.

The ponytails were collected, and the stylists got to work.  At check-in, everyone was given a number.  When the DJ announced our numbers, we made our way over to Stylist Check-In, and they ushered us to our chairs.  I couldn't help but smile.  Everyone was beaming, and pictures were being snapped left and right.

As I mentioned, over 80 individuals participated in the event, but many others brought ponytail donations with them.  There are other people who would love to donate their hair but may not meet the requirements.  I learned that the Pantene Beautiful Lengths Fund has been established to accept monetary donations.  Now everyone can participate!  Rest assured, their website states that "100% of contributions made to the Pantene Beautiful Lengths Fund go directly to helping create free, real-hair wigs for women battling cancer." 

A final note...We lost my mother-in-law in April of 2011.  My father-in-law passed away in November of 2014.  My husband needed to split his time between home, his job, and caring for his terminally ill parents.  I needed to stay strong for him, keeping everything as normal as possible for our kids.  Being the rock for our family has been challenging, overwhelming, and exhausting.  I've labeled the past six years the "Season of Sorrow."  So for me, this haircut symbolizes so much more.  With a new hairdo, the beginning of a new school year, and some fun projects on the horizon, I am looking forward. While there are always going to be challenges lurking around the corner, this is the beginning of a new season. I am going to focus on being the best version of me. I'm feeling recharged and ready to tackle whatever tomorrow brings!  I know God has great plans, and I'm excited to see what He has in store for our family!


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