Ed Mayrand, the president of Chapter 29, was joking at first … he didn’t really intend to cut off his ponytail.
His colleagues at Great Bay Community College called him on it, though: If they collected $500 for Operation Santa Claus, he would cut off his ponytail and donate it to Beautiful Lengths, an organization that makes wig for cancer patients.
Since this story starts and ends with hair, it’s important to note the backstory to this ponytail. As Mayrand noted, it starts out pretty sad.
“About a year and a half ago, my barber of 20 years passed away,” he said. “I could never connect with any of the other barbers at the shop, they were never open.”
He went through most of last summer without a haircut, until he “started looking like Elvis.”
“In the winter, I said ‘I’m not going to cut it,’ ” he said.
That brings us back to Operation Santa Claus. Mayrand said this all started way back in his chapter’s first quarter meeting, when he brought up the topic of Operation Santa Claus.
“In the past as a chapter, we maybe had sponsored one or two children at a time and it bugged me,” he said. “I thought, we should do better.”
So at his chapter’s third quarter meeting, Mayrand set the goal of raising $500, and put his hair on the line.
“If we take it up to $500, I’ll grow my hair until I hit the mandatory 8-inch length, and I’ll donate it,” he said. “I think we’re going to hit the goal. It’s been two weeks, and we’re at $175.”
Of course, it may take a lot longer to get to that 8-inch length: he’s got at least a few inches to go.