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Feeling two ways cool

Published May 23, 2007


Danielle Swengros said good bye to her long hair Saturday and hello to a soft breeze that cooled and caressed her 9-year-old neck.

"Before, when I had my longer hair, I was roasting, " she said.

The thick brown tresses are now on their way to Locks of Love, a nonprofit organization in Lake Worth that makes wigs for children who have lost their hair due to illness.

Danielle, who just finished the third grade at North Shore Elementary, said she was inspired by the popular children's book Because of Anya by Margaret Peterson Haddix. The book tells the story of a young girl dealing with alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder that causes people to lose their hair.

"That's what really took her off with it, " said Danielle's mom, Beth Ann Swengros.

Danielle said the book made her think about how she would feel if she lost her hair. "I would hope that someone would do that for me, " she said.

Melinda Smith, from 54th Avenue Hair Studio in St. Petersburg, did the honors. Smith, Danielle's stylist since her very first haircut, said she wasn't surprised when the subject came up about a year ago.

"That's how Danielle is. She's always thinking of others and very compassionate, " Smith said.

Danielle said she worried a little that she might not like her new hairstyle. "I was real nervous, " she said.

But after a deep breath, "Boop, boop, it was all done, " she said.

Before heading to a friend's birthday party, where she got a chance to show off her new 'do, Danielle and her mom mailed her 11-inch ponytail, separated into two thick braids.

"We took it right that day to the post office and she was like 'Bye, hair!'" mom said.

Danielle said she thought it was "cool" that another little girl may someday wear her hair. "I'll have a bigger or littler twin, " she said.

[Last modified May 22, 2007, 20:02:31]

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