By Gianna Addario Staff Writer
The Salem News
---- — Lexi Simmons was part of a cause last year that she strongly believes in.
So much so, in fact, that she really decided to do something this year to prove how much it meant to her.
A senior captain on the Masconomet Regional volleyball team, Simmons decided last October to grow out her hair. Aside from the occasional trim, she let her already long hair flow even more.
Earlier this month, Simmons had 10 inches of her hair cut off for Locks for Love, a non-profit organization. Her hair was then made into wigs for children suffering from long-term medical hair loss related to cancer, alopecia areate or other diagnoses.
The best part for Simmons is that she did it on her own.
I’ve always had really long hair,” said Simmons, a four-year varsity starter for Masconomet. “I saw all of the success we had last year with fundraising last year and I though it would be a really cool thing as a senior to get things going this month.”
As one of many teams at the high school, collegiate and pro levels helping to shine some light on breast cancer awareness during the month of October, the Chieftains’ volleyball team is honoring those who have fought the battle. They’re helping to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Passionately Pink for the Cure.
“All of our home games have a pink theme to them,” said the team’s head coach, Alyssa Schatzel. “We have a bake sale at every game and are wearing pink uniforms all month long. Last year we raised $1,600, and this time we’re hoping to raise more.
“‘Think Pink’ has become a big thing in the month of October. Some teams have a Think Pink day, but we decided to do it for the entire month. I wanted the girls to be apart of something that’s bigger than them. I felt it was important to take part in something that’s meaningful.”
Simmons, who plays volleyball year-round, got her hair cut at Salon Avie in Topsfield earlier this month and then sent the hair out to be donated.
“My aunt is a breast cancer survivor and I needed to get my hair cut, so I thought I’d put two-and-two together,” Simmons said. “Why not just donate? My cousin did it a few years back, and it’s something my friends and I often talked about doing.
“It was an amazing experience. I had a smile on my face the whole next day. I always want to give back do things that are bigger than myself.”
Schatzel couldn’t commend Simmons enough on her good deed. Not only a leader on the court, Simmons is the true heart and soul of Chieftains, she said.
“I didn’t even know she was going to do it. Lexi’s humble like that,” said Schatzel, now in her fifth year as head coach. “It’s incredible to coach a kid like Lexi. She’s a natural born leader and class act. As one of the most skilled players on the court, the girls respect her for her leadership role. It’s been great to see her grow up.”
Simmons has lived in numerous states across the country. After moving from St. Louis to Boxford her freshman year of high school, Simmons brought with her true character and love of the game.
The Masconomet volleyball team will also be raffling off pink-themed baskets this month, with proceeds going to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.