Danville man grows his hair long for Locks of Love

February 12, 2004|BRENDA S. EDWARDS

The talk of Bobby Roach growing his hair long began as a joke.

"His friends would ask him when he was going to get his hair cut. I'd always say 'leave him alone and let his hair grow for those of us who can't grow hair,'" said Cindy Cox, a friend who is battling cancer.

Roach, of Crescent Drive, allowed his nice black, wavy hair to grow to 12 inches, then had it cut Wednesday for the Locks of Love program to show his support for Cox.

The non-profit organization provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children under age 18 who suffer from long-term medical hair loss.

Since Cox had a hard time getting her hair back after cancer treatments, she enjoys seeing anyone who can grow hair.


"I'm sitting there with a wig that keeps itching or a ball cap that burns me up, while people kidded Bobby about his long hair," said Cox.

"Bobby has beautiful thick wavy hair," said Cox. "I think it's precious what he's doing."

Robyn Cook, a stylist at Design Team in Danville Manor, clipped Roach's ponytail off in one scissor cut, then styled Roach's hair much shorter than he has had for the past year.

"I've been cutting his hair for 13 years," said Cook.

She carefully attached a rubber band around the hair and will mail it to Locks of Love.

Most of the children helped by Locks of Love have lost their hair due to a medical condition called alopecia areata, which has no known cause or cure.

The wigs help restore their self-esteem and confidence, enabling them to face the world and their peers.

Roach usually wears his hair longer than most men and after hearing his friend talk about wearing wigs and caps to hide her thinning hair, he decided to let it grow even longer.

"Every time he comes in here, we measure his hair," said Cook.

"She even measured it at church the other night," said Roach's wife, Debbie.

After Roach's hair was cut and styled, Cook commented that this was the shortest she'd seen it.

"It will be no time until it grows back out," said Debbie Roach.

"I love it when it gets down to his shoulders. It looks so good."

Cox has battled cancer since 1998

Cox, of Logan Avenue, has been battling cancer since 1998.

"The first year I lost my hair, it did not grow back for six or seven months. I wore wigs and ball caps," she said.

Then the cancer reoccurred in 2000 and again in her bones and lymph nodes in 2002 causing her hair to thin again.

"It was not completely lost, but it was very thin."

She is undergoing chemotherapy after another medication did not help. She's trying a newer medication now and hopes it will stop the growth of tumors.

The 38-year-old mother of two said the cancer started in one of her breasts five years ago.

Her illness has been hard on her children, especially 10-year-old Tyler, a fifth-grader at Toliver Elementary School. "Tyler is doing pretty well now. It was hard for him since he only remembers me being more sick than well," she said.

Ashley, 16, a junior at Danville High School, gets a lot of support from her friends in the DHS Marching Band and also from Gethsemane Baptist Church.

Cox receives support from her family, especially her husband, John.

"John and I were married 20 years Jan. 21. "He has been wonderful during the past five years. I don't know what I would do without him."

The family went from two incomes to one when she became too ill to work. Her husband works at a hospital and has started a small business on the side.

"He's taken over all the responsibility and sometimes is a nurse for me," she said.

Cox was on hand for the haircutting and watched every inch come off as Cook sheared Roach's hair. She hopes the hair can be used in a wig for some local child.

"I can't grow hair and he can," said Cox. "It's a precious gift to give a child."

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