CANTON – When Vicky Brown of Canton started growing her hair out three years ago, she knew there was a reason. She just didn’t know what it was.

A year ago July, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. All at once, what seemed like a passing fancy for a 36-year-old woman became a calling. She would donate her hair to a child with cancer, and by so doing, honor her mother, whose cancer is in remission at this time. She also wants to inspire others to donate money for breast cancer prevention.

“I wanted to do it in such a way that many other people could share in this quest of giving in love and hope,” Brown said.

She said she’d seen on TV that men from Bath Iron Works were raising money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation by getting buzz cuts and painting their scalp green.

Brown doesn’t plan to go to that extreme. After her 2 feet of hair is braided carefully by her hairdresser, Steve Carr from Cutting Edge of Turner, he’ll snip it off at the top of the braid.

The hair will be sent to Wigs For Kids, an Ohio-based charity that provides free human hair wigs for children who’ve undergone chemotherapy and lost their hair.

The money gifts she hopes to inspire from readers will be placed in a patient assistance fund promoting breast cancer prevention at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston. Among other things, the fund provides free mammograms for women who need them, but have no insurance coverage.

“It would be nice if parents could share this with their kids,” since children learn by example from adults showing faith, compassion and a positive outlook on life, she said.

Brown, who grew up in Durham and has lived in Canton about 10 years, said it wasn’t easy to grow her hair out, since her light brown tresses are very fine, and the least little abuse can cause split ends. And perms or color treatments were definitely out, since such hair doesn’t make for good wigs.

“I spent large amounts of money on deep conditioning balm,” she said, and had it trimmed regularly to stimulate new hair growth.

Her family has no known history of breast cancer, so the diagnosis last July came as a shock.

“As a family, we tried to be as supportive as we could,” Brown said. “We visited with doctors and asked many questions about what we had read or heard from previous patients.”

She learned from her mother’s experience that dealing with cancer is a very personal battle, and “every woman, and those who love her, have their own very intimate stories of the path to wellness.”

Brown’s story is that she felt “God-driven” to do something positive for those who are suffering with breast cancer. When she gets her hair cut in a few weeks, she knows she’ll feel good.

And she hopes that anyone who is moved to donate money in support of her cause will feel good too, “knowing the many nameless people it will positively affect.”

Anyone wishing to make a donation should make their check or money order out to the Bennett Breast Care Center, and write Brown Fund in the memo portion. The funds should be mailed to: Office of Development, Central Maine Health Care, 364 Main St., Lewiston, ME 04240.


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