Long, wavy blond hair has long been Bellport High School senior Spencer Roden's signature look.
Tuesday afternoon, he tugged on the flowing locks he so proudly grew one last time before his head was shaved.
"A little girl is going to love having that beautiful hair!" said health teacher Diane Poulos, as students tried to get a last glimpse or touch of the hair that would soon fall to the floor of the high school's gymnasium.
A varsity soccer and lacrosse player, Roden, 18, has long been known around Bellport High for his lengthy, unruly mane. Tuesday, his cut hair was donated to Locks of Love, which fashions hairpieces for children with hair loss resulting from cancer treatment or other medical afflictions.
He also raised more than $200 for the California-based St. Baldrick's Foundation, which participated in yesterday's event at the high school with Locks of Love.
The St. Baldrick's Foundation uses donations nationwide to fund childhood cancer research grants.
The haircutter at yesterday's event, Brookhaven-based Audrey Jiminez of Beauty Designs by Audrey & Co., snipped off Roden's long braid to the shrieks and applause of his fellow students. Barber Raleigh McMillan finished the job, shaving Roden's head. Roden was not the only one to donate to Locks of Love: four other Bellport students donated 10 inches of their hair to the nonprofit organization.
"I'm so proud of all of you!" said Poulos, who organized the hair-cutting event.
Poulos has been the driving force behind the high school's involvement in the fight against cancer, encouraging her students to participate.
"I had thought about donating my hair to charity, but it was Mrs. Poulos who really convinced me to donate it to Locks of Love," Roden said.
After a health fair in October where eight students spontaneously decided to donate to Locks of Love, Poulos sensed the willingness of other students to participate.
She organized a series of events taking place in May and June to raise money for kids fighting cancer, which will culminate in the June 18 Relay for Life, an overnight event where teams of people take turns running or walking laps, raising money for the American Cancer Society.
More than 500 people are registered for the high school's event, and they have raised $34,700. Those who would like to participate or donate can visit relayforlife.org/southcountryny or call the school at 631-730-1577.
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