Abby O'Neill went first. Even at just 10, she was the veteran who could show the others there was nothing to cutting your hair to donate it to Locks of Love. Abby had first donated her hair at 4.
But on Friday, the Cockeysville girl knew the other girls might be nervous about having 10 or more inches of their tresses cut at Great Clips in Timonium, and she wanted to make them feel more comfortable.
Last fall, Abby and a friend, Callie Fick, of Towson, convinced five schoolmates from the School of the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen to donate to Locks of Love, a nonprofit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged people younger than 21 in the United States and Canada who are suffering from long-term hair loss resulting from medical conditions.
Abby and her mother, Kate O'Neill, started talking in September about donating. When they learned it takes six ponytails worth of hair to make a wig, her mother encouraged her to ask some friends to donate, too.
"I started asking people that had long hair and then other people started asking me, and of course, I said yes," Abby said Friday afternoon.
Callie got on board immediately. Like Abby, she had been talking for months about donating to Locks of Love.
Laurie Fick, Callie's mom, said Callie wanted to donate her hair after a cousin underwent chemotherapy five years ago and lost his hair. But Callie's hair was too short then.
So on Friday afternoon, after months of anticipation and in spite of the jitters, the girls - Abby, Callie, Matea Tschantret, 10, of Towson, Tabitha Lardeiri, 10, of Cockeysville, Ellie McCann, 11, of Roland Park, Olivia Lee, 10, of Mount Washington, and Grace Sarkar, 11 - became a team, cheering for one another as each one was caped and clipped.
"They were so supportive of one another. It was a fun afternoon," O'Neill said. "And they are all loving their new hair styles."
O'Neill said they chose Great Clips because it was the family's salon and only learned Friday the stylists do not charge to cut for Locks of Love. O'Neill took the ponytails and braids and said she would send them to Locks of Love this week.
"It made me feel happy," Abby said. "It's a gift for children that are hoping to have a wig and they could get it on a holiday and be happy."