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Local News

July 3, 2013

A gift from the heart

Peabody school board member donates hair for kids with cancer

School Committee member Beverley Griffin Dunne has a whole new look and a moving story to go with it.

She might have surprised observers at a meeting last month on the new Higgins Middle School when she appeared without her familiar flowing curls. Rather, her black hair had been cut quite short. And while the change gave her a stylish look, it was not done as a matter of fashion.

“I donated my hair,” she said. “I donated it to Pantene Beautiful Lengths and their free wigs for children.” She choose Pantene, she said, because the company bears the entire cost of providing the wigs, taking nothing for expenses.

Donating her hair is something Griffin Dunne wants to talk about, “because I’d like to encourage other people to do it,” she said.

She decided to make the donation after seeing so many kids with cancer who had lost their hair during cancer treatments.

“I could tell they once had curly hair,” she said.

Lots of kids can hide the damage with wigs that leave them looking a lot like they looked before, Griffin Dunne said. But curly-haired kids have a problem because curls are hard to come by for wig makers.

“And my hair is very, very curly,” she said.

Griffin Dunne, who narrowly lost the April special election for state representative, came by her interest in kids with cancer six years ago, after dealing with the devastating news that her own son, Brian, then 17, had cancer.

“He noticed a lump,” she said. “We took him to the doctor not knowing what it was.”

It was the beginning of a long, tough battle with cancer, one that impacted the entire Dunne family.

At Boston Children’s Hospital, Brian learned he had cancer of the soft tissue. He woke up from an exploratory procedure expressing confidence that he could beat it.

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