Toronto Star / August 24, 1978
She’ll sell her hair to help sick dad
By Paul Dalby
Star staff writer
The lustrous brown locks cascade down almost to her ankles. Marie’s 58-inch hair is her pride and joy.
But now the 20-year-old Metro girl is prepared to sacrifice her beautiful hair to a wigmaker’s salon for money of it will help her father.
For years Marie’s father had chocked on air filled with fine steel dust as he toiled making bank vaults. Last summer he was take to hospital with what seemed to be pneumonia.
Doctors soon confirmed the pneumonia was just a side-effect of lung cancer. After several operations her father is holding his own but may never work again.
“He gets so tired because he’s always coughing. He gets up at 3 or 4 a.m. because of it,” Maria said.
Bill pile up
Her parents have to watch helplessly as the mortgage payments, property taxes, utility bills and medical costs pile up. She hopes the money for her hair will help ease this burden.
A second-year sciences student on a special university scholarship, Marie plans to go to medical school and later become a missionary. Right now she has no money to ease her family’s predicament.
“They get some allowances from the government but it’s not nearly enough to meet all the bills,” she said. “It makes me feel so sad to see this happening.”
Staying in school
“I had thought of quitting university for two years to earn some money but my father didn’t want me to do that,” she said.
So Marie took a leaf from the classic story of Little Women in which Jo, the second of four daughters, sold her hair so her mother could visit her father who’d been wounded in the American Civil War.
“I don’t know how much I will get for my hair or if it will be enough,” she said yesterday. “I don’t even know who to approach.”
With only three weeks left before she returns to university, Marie wrote to her the Star Probe column to ask for advice.
It has taken nine years to grow her hair to its present length – washing it every other day – and long hours of brushing until it shines.
A quiet, reserved young woman, Marie is not seeking charity and requested her identity not be revealed.
However, Peter Suba, president of Continental Tress Ltd. on Avenue Rd., said he’s willing to pay Mary $200 to keep her hair.
“There’s just no market for human hair anymore,” he said, “and we should know – we used to be one of Metro’s largest buyers of human hair. But right now I’ve got about 100 kilos (220 pounds) of it sitting around that I’m trying to get rid of.”
Suba said, “It would be a disservice to Marie to her to cut her hair. It sounds lovely, and I’ll gladly pay her $200 to keep it.
“And I think any other wigmaker would take the same approach.”
Suba said human hair is “virtually never” used for wigs anymore, since synthetic fibres developed in the past few years are far superior.
“You don’t find a girl like that very often – someone who’s willing to do whatever’s in her power to help her family.
She deserves all the help she can get.”