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Saturday, March 02, 2024

UF student sells hair to support friend with cancer

A local tattoo shop employee is shaving her head to help a friend in need, and she’s raising money by “selling” all 32 inches of her hair.

Norma Melendez, a receptionist at Bodytech Tattooing and Piercing and UF electrical engineering senior, plans to cut off her brown locks. She’s asking the public to “purchase” her hair for $100 an inch. The 27-year-old will give the proceeds to a friend who was diagnosed with acute leukemia in March.

The goal of the project is to raise $3,000 to assist with medical bills.

Melendez’s head will be shaved at a public event that will also include a prize drawing on Sunday at 6 p.m. at Bodytech, located at 806 W. University Ave.

Her friend, who asked to remain unnamed, is a fellow employee whom Melendez described as fun-loving with a unique sense of humor.

Bodytech co-owner Jen Lessard said she was happy to help when Melendez first came to her with the idea for the project.

Lessard said people can purchase drawing tickets in the store or at the event for $5 each or five tickets for $20. In total, more than $700 in prizes and gift certificates is up for grabs in the chance drawing.

Mother’s Pub and Grill is donating prizes for the raffle.

Patrick Schaller, owner of Mother’s, said he feels it’s important to contribute to smaller causes such as this because often, these matters go unnoticed.

“We basically decided if she is going to do it up right, we’re going to do it up right with her and help her raise as much as she could,” he said.

The night will begin with Melendez’s hair being braided into several strands and cut. She said the person who the event is supporting will then shave her head.

Melendez plans to later get a small tattoo on her scalp to commemorate the experience. The event will conclude with the drawing.

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Melendez said she was partly inspired to do this project because she lost a close friend to cancer earlier this year.

“There’s too much of it around that you can’t really do much about, so this is my way to do something,” Melendez said. “And I kind of figured that hair is only temporary.”

Melendez’s hair will be donated to Locks of Love, a nonprofit that creates hairpieces for underprivileged children suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis.

A version of this story ran on page 8 on 10/16/2013 under the headline "UF student sells hair to support friend"

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