by Lisa Tome
Emily Baker is a "victim" of positive peer pressure.
Baker, a fourth grader at Rising Sun Elementary, learned that her friend and classmate Natalie Mackie cut her hair and donated it to help others. So Baker decided to follow suit.
"She (Mackie) did it last year and this year," said Baker.
She decided to cut her long locks and trade them in for a shorter cut. Baker's charity of choice for hair donation is Locks of Love. "It's a place that makes wigs for people who have cancer and lose their hair," said Baker.
She told her mother that she wanted to make a donation.
"She wanted to do it for a long time. She got it trimmed (last year) because I told her if it was healthy it would grow faster," said Baker's mother, Jennifer Heitz.
Heitz said that the family has talked about cancer patients but it was her classmate's donation that pushed Emily to want to help, too. "I wanted to donate my hair. I wanted to help people who don't have hair," Baker said.
She headed to a local salon where the hair, which was as long as her back, was washed and placed in a ponytail before the cut. The change was more than the 10-year-old bargained for. "I felt sad because my hair was really short. But I am happy now. I like it. It takes less time to wash and brush," she said.
She said that people like her new look. And when they ask about her new hairdo, she tells them she made the donation in hopes that they will donate also. "I like it and I am glad to give back," she said.
Her mother said that Emily is "passionate" about several causes in addition to helping through the hair donation. "She volunteers with Chesapeake Feline Association and is now collecting for Pennies for Patients (for those with lymphoma and leukemia). The youth is also mother to a bunny, frog, three fish, two cats, and a dog.
Baker is also the daughter of C.J. Heitz of Rising Sun and Bill and Crystal Hartley of Pennsylvania.