We all have things we consider precious, items in our lives we can’t bear to think to part with. There are few people who make the choice to separate so willingly.

hair donation
For her birthday this year, Teslyn asked friends and family to make a donation to Wigs for Kids instead of presents. Photo courtesy: Crystal Wintersteen

Teslyn Wintersteen is eight-years-old and in the third grade at Lewis and Clark Elementary in Astoria. Her prized brown hair reaches well beyond her shoulders. What you wouldn’t imagine, however, is her intent to cut off the beautiful strands.

Most young girls don’t dream of cutting their hair, but Teslyn’s objective began with her big heart for those suffering with cancer. It’s a heart that has matured from her family history.

Her mother, Crystal Wintersteen, was diagnosed with B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia when she was only a few years older than Teslyn is today. Crystal lost her own hair during the ordeal. Surviving against the odds of doctors with the help of much prayer, Crystal was blessed to go into remission and become the mother that Teslyn and her siblings are thankful for every day.

hair donation
Diagnosed with cancer in the 8th grade, Crystal celebrated 21 years of remission in 2017. Photo credit: Crystal Wintersteen

Knowing full well the extent of cancer’s effects, Teslyn was moved by a slideshow at Vacation Bible School. The images revealed kids from across the nation that had lost their hair in battles against cancer. They were images not unlike what her mother would have looked like years ago.

“I thought about it for so long,” explained Teslyn. “I told my mom that I wanted to donate my hair. I’ve been growing it out ever since.”

Teslyn has chosen Wigs for Kids as the recipient, which is a hair replacement organization just for children who are fighters and survivors of cancer, burns and other conditions. Their mission is to not just replace a child’s physical appearance, but to reinstill their confidence for everyday life. Their suffering doesn’t end at hair loss. It continues in their self-esteem and public image.

hair donation
Joni Jenson (left) will be cutting Teslyn Wintersteen’s hair to donate to Wigs for Kids. She is supported by her mother, Crystal Wintersteen (right). Photo courtesy: Crystal Wintersteen.

While Teslyn expressed that her hair grows very fast, she revealed that her contributions have to be no shorter than twelve inches. There must also be enough hair to section off at least four to six total ponytails. That’s a lot of har!

In addition to her commitment with Wigs for Kids, Teslyn would like to cover the entire cost of the wig for one child. Each hair replacement system costs $1,800. You can help Teslyn reach her goal by donating to her fundraiser.

“I know what it feels like to have no hair,” stated Crystal, Teslyn’s mom. “When she came home and said she wanted to donate her hair, I was excited for her.”

Crystal also admitted that she is nervous for Teslyn. “She’s never had short hair,” she says. “It’ll be a big change for her, but she’ll just have to experience it on her own.”

hair donation
Teslyn appreciates the community’s support as she raises $1,800 to cover the cost of making the wig. Photo courtesy: Crystal Wintersteen

Teslyn, on the other hand, expressed optimism as well as a lesson for us all. “I’m ready for change. It’s better to have short hair than no hair. I don’t know who will get my hair, but I think they would really like to have it. It’s nice to do that for them.”

The hair cut has been set to take place in downtown Astoria at Salon Bohème. Local beautician Joni Jenson, Crystal’s sister, will be holding the scissors to perform the honor on Teslyn’s long and beautiful donation.

“It’s special for me. I think my friends are going to like it and I’m going to look good,” said Teslyn, confident in her new look.

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