KOKOMO, Ind. (AP) — Nine-year-old Apryl Chesshir's thick, brown hair once cascaded down her back and past her hips, touching the middle of her thighs.
She loved her hair, often refusing to get haircuts even when it got in her way, her mother Camilla said.
Then one day she asked to get all of it chopped off. She wanted to donate her hair to someone who needed it for a wig.
"I am so proud of her," Camilla told the Kokomo Tribune (http://bit.ly/1eah4Hn ). "A couple of years ago it took me a couple of weeks just to get her to let me cut the dead ends off."
Camilla was so proud of her daughter that she decided she, too, would chop her long, flowing locks off for someone in need.
Their plan had been to donate their hair to Locks of Love, an organization that makes wigs for cancer patients. But they wanted to make sure their donation helped out someone in the area.
So they decided to give it all to a Greentown woman battling bone marrow cancer. Karen Honeas hasn't lost her hair yet, but she will.
In June, she'll spend a month in the hospital while she receives a bone marrow transplant. That transplant will hopefully keep her in remission for the next 25 to 30 years, but it comes with a high dose of chemotherapy that will make her hair fall out.
It's something she dreads.
"Losing my hair is the worst part of the whole thing," she said. "Sometimes when I think about it, it makes me teary eyed."
She was touched, then, when the mother-daughter pair offered their own hair to her for a wig. She almost started crying when the Chesshirs asked her if she wanted it, she said. After all, they barely know each other.
Honeas has been going to Pets Supply Plus every week for about three years now to buy feed for her sheep and dogs.
Coincidentally, that's about how long Camilla has been working there.
The two women see each other frequently and chat occasionally. Camilla knew her customer had cancer, but she didn't know much more.
Still, she thought it might be a nice thing to do.
"I thought she could use it," Camilla said. "Some wigs are pretty expensive."
Camilla said her hair doesn't mean that much to her anyway. It wasn't a big deal to cut it off.
She sat at Beauty Buzz on a recent Sunday afternoon as Charlien Haworth snipped away. The stylist cut off four braids that were each more than six inches long.
Camilla sighed as the last braid came off.
"It's instant headache relief," she said.
It had been two years since she last got her hair cut. It fell all the way down her back. Her husband was worried about the dramatic change, she said, but not her.
It was Apryl she had been worried about. She'd never had more than 6 inches cut off her hair in her entire life. But the third-grader at Bon Air Elementary School got hers cut a week ago without any protest.
"She just sat there real quiet," Camilla said. "She didn't make a move. She didn't make a sound."
Charlien cut two 13-inch braids and two 11-inch braids from the young girl's full head of hair.
And when it was all over with, Apryl decided she loved her new 'do.
"It was weird at first," she said.
Then she got to school and all of her friends told her they loved it. Her teachers, on the other hand, didn't recognize her at first. It was shocking to see her without the long hair that she was known for, she said.
Apryl is finding that short hair has its perks. For the first time in her life, she can brush her own hair. Her showers are a lot shorter now, and best of all, her mom can curl her hair.
Camilla said after the haircut her daughter begged her for days to curl her hair. She could never wear her hair curled before because her long hair was too heavy.
Honeas bought Apryl some pretty hair ties and headbands to show how much she appreciates the little girl's gift. She said Apryl was "tickled to death" to get them.
But she can never repay the mother and daughter who gave her so much, she said. In fact, the family is still helping her out. She said Camilla has plans to make some head scarves for her to wear in addition to the wig.
"I guess that's what friends are for," Honeas said. "She's a friend for life now."
Information from: Kokomo Tribune, http://www.ktonline.com