Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Apollo Beach man gives up hair, gets donations for Locks of Love

GIBSONTON — He's a musician, motorcycle rider, computer whiz and a bit of a showman.

Add to those talents the ability to grow thick, waist-long hair in only a few years' time and you have Apollo Beach resident Cory Simmons.

Last week, Simmons parlayed his talents into a fundraiser at River's Edge Bar & Grill and invited people to come watch him trade in his tresses for the chance to help children who can't grow their own hair.

"We are raising a lot of money for Locks of Love," Simmons called out from a stage to a crowd of about 100 at the outdoor bar on the Alafia River on Oct. 12. "We're doing a hair-raising event."

In four hours' time, Simmons' hair lift netted $575 for Locks of Love, and six people with hair to spare gave ponytails of at least 10 inches to the South Florida nonprofit organization that provides custom hairpieces to children whose medical conditions keep them from growing their own hair.

As a tribute to his brother, Lowell, who died of cancer in 2011, Simmons had 17 inches of his sun-streaked sandy brown mane sheared and bagged for shipment to Locks of Love. That still left enough for a shoulder-length 'do.

"This is the shortest I've had it in 40 years," Simmons said. "I don't need two pumps of the shampoo anymore."

Before the mane event, Simmons played his acoustic guitar and crooned songs from the 1970s and '80s. Between sets he cut up with the crowd, trying to drive donations higher. Some chipped in $20 in exchange for a hair trim by Lisa Cremeans, part-owner of the bar who also is a professional stylist.

"A lot of people ask me if I'm going military style," Simmons said from the stage. "Everybody's head is shaped different. I have no interest in seeing what my head is shaped like."

Simmons spent about eight years doing computer-related contract work for the U.S. military, including stints in Iraq and Afghanistan. He took a lot of ribbing in that environment of close-cropped coiffures but always kept his long locks, except when making donations to Locks of Love.

His earlier donations followed the death of his mother, Barbara Barnes, also claimed by cancer in 1986. This year's is his third, but Simmons said it's the first time he has tried to raise money to accompany the hair.

Christie Rasmussen, who trims Simmons' hair regularly at A Peaceful Harbor Day Spa in Apollo Beach, said she has bagged Locks of Love donations from customers many times during her 16 years as a stylist. Usually women or girls are the ones who have what Locks of Love is looking for: long, healthy hair that has not been dyed. She said Simmons' natural blond hair made him the ideal candidate.

Others who donated lengths of hair at the fundraiser included Angela Schaefers of Apollo Beach, who said she is a cancer survivor thankful to be alive, and Jason Foster of Ruskin, who said he felt lucky to survive a "kidney failure thing."

"Giving back in some way is important," Foster said.

Jamie Johnson of Riverview said she knew Simmons through River's Edge.

"I was going to cut my hair in March, and he told me, 'Why don't you save it till October and do Locks of Love with me?' I said, 'Sure thing.' "

Simmons' girlfriend, Deora­lynn "Dee" Kettler, said Simmons had had long hair for all the time she has known him. It didn't take long for her to warm up to his new look.

"I love it," Kettler said. "I can be on the back of the motorcycle and not have his ponytail hitting me in the face."

Susan Marschalk Green can be reached at [email protected]

Apollo Beach man gives up hair, gets donations for Locks of Love 10/16/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 4:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Review: Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald team up to cool down the Clearwater Jazz Holiday

    Blogs

    A cool breeze swept through Coachman Park Saturday night. Couple of them, actually.

    Kenny Loggins performed at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday on Oct. 21, 2017.
  2. No. 16 USF hangs on at Tulane, off to first 7-0 start

    College

    NEW ORLEANS — After half a season of mismatches, USF found itself in a grudge match Saturday night.

    USF quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) runs for a touchdown against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH103
  3. Lightning buries Penguins (w/video)

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Ryan Callahan spent a lot of time last season rehabilitating his injured hip alongside Steven Stamkos, who was rehabbing a knee after season-ending surgery. During those hours, Callahan noticed two things about Stamkos: his hunger and his excitement to return this season.

    Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Slater Koekkoek (29) advances the puck through the neutral zone during the first period of Saturday???‚??„?s (10/21/17) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Spain planning to strip Catalonia of its autonomy

    World

    BARCELONA, Spain — The escalating confrontation over Catalonia's independence drive took its most serious turn Saturday as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain announced he would remove the leadership of the restive region and initiate a process of direct rule by the central government in Madrid.

    Demonstrators in Barcelona protest the decision to take control of Catalonia to derail the independence movement.
  5. Funeral held for soldier at center of political war of words (w/video)

    Nation

    COOPER CITY — Mourners remembered not only a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman but his three comrades who died with him.

    The casket of Sgt. La David T. Johnson of Miami Gardens, who was killed in an ambush in Niger. is wheeled out after a viewing at the Christ The Rock Church, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017  in Cooper City, Fla. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP) FLMIH102