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A special valentine

Teacher makes hair donation to honor her student, aunt


FRONT PAGE PHOTO: Riverside Schools teacher Marie Baughman, center, shows about 1 foot of her hair that was cut Thursday at the Village Chameleon, 127 S. Main St., DeGraff, for donation to Children With Hair Loss. She cut her locks in honor of her aunt, Phyllis Slonecker, left, and her student, Mya Hurley, both of whom have undergone treatments for cancer. ABOVE: Ms. Baughman, seated, waits nervously as her aunt, Phyllis Slonecker, right, makes the first cut with the help of stylist Rikki Wilgus. (EXAMINER PHOTOS | MANDY LOEHR)

A Riverside Schools special education teacher gave a different kind of valentine Thursday at a local salon to honor one of her students and also a special family member, both of whom have undergone treatment for cancer.

Marie Baughman has been growing her locks since 1996, but decided that she wanted to donate her hair to the non-profit organization Children With Hair Loss.

Her donation at the Village Chameleon, 127 S. Main St., DeGraff, was witnessed by a crowd of supporters, including the pair whom she was inspired by — her student Mya Hurley, 13, and her aunt, Phyllis Slonecker, 76, of Troy.

Mya has battled acute lymphoblastic leukemia twice, and in November, she had a successful bone marrow transplant. Ms. Slonecker has combated bladder cancer since 2008, and is currently going through chemotherapy.

Both Mya and Mrs. Baughman’s aunt lost their hair as a result of the cancer treatment.

“I wanted to do this today for two very special people in my life,” Mrs. Baughman said. “While I was very attached to my hair, neither one of them wanted to lose their hair either."

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