CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio-- If your hair is your crown, then cosmetology students at Cleveland Heights-University Heights High School are worth their weight in gold.
Students are hard at work hand-crafting more than a dozen wigs for area cancer patients and survivors in partnership with the American Cancer Society.
"They're doing it on their own," said Donna Pollard, a cosmetology instructor at Heights High School. "They're giving back to society. They're actually taking from scratch, making a wig and making a difference in life."
For some students, it's a connection that reaches beyond the classroom.
"I just felt it wasn't the same. My grandma, her personality changed, her appetite changed. I just felt really bad for her," said Taylor Hope-Clayton, student. "I don't like seeing my grandma like that because I know how she acts; I could tell cancer changed her."
Students spend weeks meticulously perfecting every wig for patients and survivors. They are in the process of preparing them for delivery in the coming weeks.
In years past, some of the wigs students helped secure were donated to The Gathering Place in Westlake and Beachwood. The facility helps to support and educate people impacted by cancer through programs and services.
"I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, which I never even knew existed," said Carol Rounds, a cancer survivor inside the Gathering Place Wig Salon. "They want it to look good and real and stay on their head so I'm sure it's very important to them."
This is the third year the district has worked to make sure cancer patients never spend a second doubting their beauty because for many the greatest gifts received are in the details, crafted with care and love.
"To see them receive a wig is very emotional. It makes you cry, makes you understand, appreciate what you have," Pollard said.