Local nurses give piece of themselves to help cancer patients

For National Nurses Week, more than a dozen local nurses are cutting out the compliments and giving once again. Not just their talents but literally a part of them. Their hair — 160 inches in all. Their loving gesture benefitting cancer patients.

In one room at Lurie Children’s, Nya Hughes proudly wears her wig as she gets her cancer treatment. For her, the hair helps her feel like a typical teenage girl … not like a patient.

Nya Hughes: “I’m still the same person.”

Nya smiles today knowing in another part of the hospital, there is a major buzz to help people just like her!

Nya Hughes: “I think it’s good because they don’t have to buy one. They can be expensive.”

Nurses gather to provide the makings for more wigs. They give of their hearts every day. Today, the gift comes from their head.

Sara Evans, Lurie Children’s nurse: “The way I see it, during this kind of dark, scary time, you get the opportunity to help them and feel better but also be a positive role, a good memory in this whole experience.”

Elizabeth Culliton, Lurie Children’s nurse: “I had been wanting to do it for a while, but my hair was never been long enough.”

Blondes, brunettes the hair in all colors is cut – at least 10 inches from every nurse. Enough to wrap the head of a person battling cancer and struggling to restore confidence as the disease takes their health and their hair.

Elizabeth Culliton: “I get to see brain tumor patients on this floor kind of in the acute stage of their illness, and then I usually don’t see them after when they are getting radiation or chemo. So I thought this would be a way I could help them in the later stages.”

Kathleen Falk, who works with children at Lurie, also works tirelessly to organize this Locks of Love event which this year attracted 10 other staffers in addition to nurses.

Kathleen Falk, Lurie Children’s nurse: “Every year it’s getting bigger and bigger. This year we have a wait list for the first time.”

And for those waiting for word on their cancer battle or waiting for their hair to grow back, that stat warms the heart as much as the touch of the nurses, celebrating the love they bring to their job every day!

Kathleen Falk: “It’s emotionally exhausting and physically exhausting at the end of our day, but we all do it because we love it so much.”

Sara Evans: “As a nurse we get an opportunity to create a special bond with these kids and their families as they go down this road. So if donating my hair makes them feel like a little kid again for a little bit, I think that’s not too much to ask for.”

Johnathan Breitung Salon donated the services for the haircuts – http://johnathanbreitungsalon.com/

To learn more about Locks of Love, check out www.locksoflove.org

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