‘We Care, Pink Hair’

A customer who found out about the “We Care, Pink Hair” fundraiser while getting his hair cut, made a donation ahead of time for his daughter to have a pink extension put in when she had time. Above, the daughter, Grace Pavlish, is having an extension put in by the Cutting Crew’s Kelly Vornhagen.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and this year, you can show your support by adding a streak of pink to your hair.

“We Care, Pink Hair” is back this month to raise funds for the American Cancer Institute, Sheila Kuchta, the regional director of Philanthropy for the Avera Foundation, told the Press & Dakotan.

“It builds awareness for people that are battling breast cancer, and it helps us provide support for cancer care for them,” she said.

Through Oct. 29, for a suggested donation of $10 or more, participants can get a pink hair extension put in at any of four participating local salons. The proceeds go to Avera’s Cancer Institute for the benefit of patients and their families. Extensions are not glued or sown in, just crimped with a bead that can easily be removed at any time.

Participating local salons include Legacy Studio, Leslie’s Chair, Essence Salon and Cutting Crew. Those interested in participating are asked to call ahead for an appointment and further details.

How did we go from a pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness to pink hair?

“This is a hair trend. The color features are kind of popular, so the kids like it” said Kelly Vornhagen of Cutting Crew, who also participated in last year’s event. “A lot of people don’t want the pink extension; they just want to donate the money.”

For those who do want extensions, they take only a few minutes to put in.

Though many people are interested in getting a pink hair extension for themselves, some people are interested in the event for their children, Kuchta noted.

“Also, a lot of times they’ve had somebody in their family or a friend that has had cancer,” she said. “It’s a fun way and an outward way that you can show support for cancer care because, let’s face it, if someone sees a pink extension in your hair, they’re going to ask, ‘Why?’”

Avera has been holding “We Care, Pink Hair” for about five years in Sioux Falls, and only brought it to Yankton in 2020.

Despite the presence of COVID in the community last year, people came out for their pink extensions and enjoyed the event, Kuchta said.

“We’re just lucky that we have people, like Kelly Vornhagen and her crew, and some of the other salons that volunteered their time to do it,” Kuchta said. “We just appreciate that.”

It seems everybody knows someone who has been affected by breast cancer in some way, Vornhagen said.

“Cancer affects everybody, so I think everybody’s ready to lend a hand, share and donate,” she said.

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