Gulfport woman makes third hair donation to help cancer kids

By Trang Pham-Bui - bio | email

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - Every day, the tasks seem to get tougher for Shelley Robinson.  Something as simple as getting out a car is a time-consuming struggle.

The 27-year-old Gulfport woman relies on a wheelchair to get around after a debilitating neuromuscular disease robbed her of her ability to walk. The symptoms surfaced when she was 12-years-old.

Despite her weakened muscles and damaged heart, Shelley has worked tirelessly to help the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Every Labor Day, for the past 14 years, Shelley has been a familiar face on WLOX, raising money for the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon.

Her generosity didn't stop there.  This time, Shelley is giving something of herself -- her long, thick, beautiful blond hair.

"Oh my gosh!  Look how long!" exclaimed JoAn Niceley, who works at the Chatterbox hair salon in Long Beach.

Niceley is also the founder of Pink Heart Funds. The local charity turns donated pony tails into wigs for people who've lost their hair to cancer.  Shelley showed up at the salon Thursday to donate her hair.

"It's going to be right at 16 inches," said Niceley after measuring Shelley's hair.

"I don't really have a lot of strength to help build houses or anything, and I don't really have a lot of money to donate to people," said Shelley.  "But I do have an abundance of hair and I need to give that because I believe every little bit helps."

What took several years to grow was gone in a matter of seconds.

"That is what little girls love, natural blond hair," Niceley said.  "So this is perfect."

"It looks like a Chinchilla," said Shelley.

It was not the first time Shelley has had her hair chopped off for a good cause.

"This is her third time," said Niceley. "She loves to do this.  Doesn't want anything back.  She wants to make a child feel special and I feel with Shelley having a handicap, she also can relate to what these children are going through."

After a quick wash, blow dry and style, Shelley's makeover was complete.

"Oh, and it matches my glasses.  It's great! It's cute. I love it," Shelley said with a big smile on her face.

"It's going to mean a lot to them, because I know how it feels to lose something.  And when someone gives something back to you that you've lost, it means a lot," said Shelley.

The gift also meant a lot to Shelley's mom, because Thursday was her birthday.

"OK, we have to go out somewhere tonight. That's just the way it is," said Margie Robinson.

"Yes, to show off my new do," said Shelley with a laugh.

Shelley's ponytail will now be sent away, sorted, and turned into a wig.

"We'll get it back in about three months. It does take some time, and then some child here in Mississippi will get that wig," said Niceley.

Shelley will make another appearance on the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon on WLOX-TV on Monday.

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