Pink Hair Extensions Raise Awareness for Breast Cancer

Hair extensions allows people to show their love and support for those who are going through and have gone through breast cancer treatment.

Across campus, teachers are sporting bright pink streaks in their hair to support people affected by breast cancer. These hair extensions were put in on September 30, when families of faculty and staff were invited to a stand set up in Pine Knoll to receive the colorful additions.

Tara Molloy, a hairdresser at Vero Salon and Spa in Middleton, Mass., provided the hair extensions. Molloy said that she wanted her skills to spur conversation and support the fighters and survivors of cancer.

“I think that sometimes it’s hard for people to talk about [cancer],” said Molloy, “But when people talk about it, it makes other people aware, and it brings everyone to the same place.”

Jen Hoenig, who lives in Fuess House, came up with the idea for the event. According to Jen Hoenig, the event raised 600 dollars, which will be donated to various charities aiming to find a cure for cancer.

Jen Hoenig said, “I reached out to other faculty members and faculty spouses just to get a sense of [if] this is something that people would like on campus or not, and it was pretty overwhelmingly positive, so we decided to go for it. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so we decided to do it the day before October starts so people can wear them around campus and show support for both the fighters and the survivors and their families.”

One of the many who received an extension was nine-year-old Emma Silversides, daughter of Lani Silversides, Instructor in Mathematics.

Emma Silversides said, “My mom is going through breast cancer treatment, so I wanted to have a pink extension for the month of October.”

Scott Hoenig, Instructor in Mathematics and Jen Hoenig’s husband, alluded to the possibility of further fundraisers led by Jen Hoenig in the future.

“She has thought about doing this on a larger scale, maybe opening it up to students,” said Scott Hoenig. 

Students have expressed interest in participating in more breast cancer awareness on campus. 

Olivia Nolan ’20 wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “There’s definitely no such thing as raising too much awareness for a disease as prevalent in our society as breast cancer.”

Nolan suggested a possible “Pink Day” in the future where students could dress in pink to classes and Paresky Commons could incorporate the color pink into the food.

“Breast cancer awareness is an important topic because it affects so many people in a lot of different ways. I’m sure a good percentage of the students at Andover have been impacted by breast cancer in some way. There’s a reason that there’s such a thing as Breast Cancer Awareness Month; around 240,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, and we still don’t have a cure,” wrote Nolan in an email to The Phillipian.

Alexa Vinton ’22 expressed similar sentiments.

“Breast cancer awareness is an important topic, because it is one of the most common kinds of cancer, and knowing about it will help people be in the know about early detection,” said Vinton. “I would be open and excited to participate in an event like that.”

Although several faculty members and children attended the fundraiser, many of the students living in Fuess House were not aware of the event.

“I didn’t know something like this was going on,” said Jake Bowden ’21, a resident of Fuess House.

Charles Yoon ’20, who also lives in Fuess House, said, “I definitely would be interested [in another fundraiser in the future]. I think it’s important for people to recognize and spread awareness about cancer, which is one of the most diabolical diseases ever.”

Jen Hoenig will determine where the proceeds will go to with the help of Lani Silversides; Amy Latva-Kokko, who lives in Bertha Bailey House; Christine Marshall-Walker, Instructor in Biology; and Wendy Cogswell, Community Relations Officer for Phillips Academy Public Safety.

The women working with Jen Hoenig have all survived or are currently battling breast cancer. According to Jen Hoenig, one of the charities benefitting from the fundraiser will be the Betty J. Borry Breast Cancer Retreat Center, of which Cogswell is a board member.

“[The Betty J. Borry Breast Cancer Retreat Center] is for women who have dealt with cancer, have had a family member, or known someone who has fought cancer. [It is] a place for them to come together, almost like summer camp,” said Jen Hoenig. 

According to Scott Hoenig, the event was a fun and lighthearted way to provide support to those affected by breast cancer.

“What’s really great, though, is that it’s just another way to help show support for the so many people in our lives who have been touched by cancer. We’ve had so many friends and family members who have been impacted by by cancer, specifically breast cancer, but other kinds of cancers, too. This was one way to show support to bring people together to raise money and to do it in a way that adds a little bit of a little bit of fun as well,” said Scott Hoenig.