Almost two years ago, Cory Simmons was in Afghanistan, a long-haired, guitar-playing computer whiz on a military contract who drew stares from soldiers whose looks — and locks — were by the book.
Simmons vowed to cut his mane when he had at least 15 inches to donate to Locks of Love. The South Florida-based nonprofit organization provides human hair prosthetics to children with chronic, severe hair loss and also synthetic hairpieces to those who lose their hair to cancer treatment.
Now home in Apollo Beach, Simmons, 51, has hair to spare, and hopes to donate at least 16 inches in memory of his brother, Lowell, who died from cancer in October 2011.
To raise money for Locks of Love, Simmons is staging a fundraiser at River's Edge Bar, 6226 Ohio Ave. in Gibsonton, from 2 to 6 p.m. Oct. 12. He plans to play the guitar and have a stylist cut his hair between sets. He is inviting others in the community to join in, either by making a hair donation or chipping in cash for every inch of hair collected.
Lauren Boothby, communications director for Locks of Love, said hair donations must be at least 10 inches long.
She said Locks of Love provides more than 500 hairpieces a year to recipients in the United States and Canada. The custom-made human hair prosthetics would cost $3,500 to $6,000 each if they were purchased at retail price, she said.
Lisa Cremeans, who coordinates events for River's Edge, said she is a former nurse who saw friends and patients lose their hair to cancer treatment.
"I saw how hurtful it was, especially to the little ones and teenagers," she said, adding that the bar is happy to help raise money for Locks of Love.
For information, call River's Edge at (813) 671-9196 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Susan Marschalk Green, Times correspondent