Heather Davis-Hura looked a little misty-eyed as her thick wavy locks fell to the floor of the salon.
But the woman known for her "big hair" in high school couldn't stop smiling as she looked in the mirror at her freshly shaved head.
"G.I. Jane. That's what we have been saying," she said, laughing.
Her new look, crafted earlier this month, is a show of love and support for her mother-in-law, 82-year-old Jane Hura, who is battling cancer. Heather's hair was bagged and will be bound for Locks of Love, a charitable organization providing wigs for children suffering from disease.
Jane looked at her daughter-in-law and marveled at the gesture, recalling their 20-year bond of friendship that has grown stronger as she fights for her life.
"I am amazed she would do this. We have been close all along," Jane said. "I am not sure I would do it."
Growing up in Pennsylvania, Jane never feared taking chances, whether it meant leaving home as a young woman to live in New York City for three years, where she worked in retail sales at Saks Fifth Avenue, or traveling to Cuba with friends in the 1950s.
"That was fun, going to Cuba. One of the nightclubs had a turning dance floor," she said.
When her son Michael married Heather, Jane gained more than a daughter. She got a friend who was eager to share new experiences with her.
Like when they got tattoos together for Jane's 74th birthday — Jane got a ladybug on her ankle, Heather got the Taurus constellation on her shoulder — or when the pair decided on a whim to take a sign language class.
"It's always an adventure when we get together," said Heather, 39, a stay-at-home mother of two.
After Heather lopped off her locks Saturday, it was Jane's turn in the Smart Style salon chair at the Hudson Walmart. Regular chemotherapy sessions had caused patches of Jane's hair to fall out. Her longtime stylist, Frankie Rodriguez, took off the rest.
Jane's cancer was diagnosed six months ago. Doctors aren't sure where it originated, but the chemotherapy has successfully reduced the tumors in her chest and the rest of her body.
"Jane is such a wonderful lady," Rodriguez said. "I just cherish that they would share this memory with me."
Several of Heather's friends also came along for support and snapped pictures of the women with their new 'dos. Jane took a look at one photo and declared, "I look like Paul Shaffer!" The room erupted into laughter.
As she watched the warmth between the two women, Melanie Cech recalled how heartbroken Heather was when she learned about Jane's cancer.
"I think it's amazing what she is doing," Cech said of Heather's solidarity haircut. "I don't think I could do it."
Heather never gave a second thought to cutting her hair for Jane. Knowing her hair could mean a wig for a suffering child made the experience even richer.
"I wish I could meet them," said Heather, tearing up as she thought about the child who would receive the wig made with her hair. "They're the ones fighting the real battle."