FAIRFIELD — Sandy Calvert sat still in a chair as barber John LeMelle slowly chopped off her hair.
Tears began to well up in her eyes when her sister, Lynn Bazan, put her hand on her shoulder and told Calvert, “You’re going to look great.”
Calvert, the owner of Sandy’s 101 Omelets, shaved her head in front of a packed crowd at her restaurant Saturday to raise awareness for breast cancer. The restaurant also held a potluck dinner and silent auction to fundraise for the local nonprofit Pink Lemonade and for the family of Renee Prusso. Prusso died from breast cancer in December.
Among the dozens who showed up in support, Calvert’s friend and co-worker Phena Ross cheered on Calvert as the hair came off.
“She looks so good,” Ross said.
Calvert said the idea was inspired by her sister, Bazan, who has been battling breast cancer for the past four years. Bazan said losing her hair was one of the hardest parts of dealing with chemotherapy.
“Losing my hair was devastating,” she said. “For me it’s a vanity thing.”
Calvert said she saw how hard this was on her sister and wanted to offer support.
“I would shave my hair for her in a heart beat,” Calvert said.
Calvert started working on the fundraiser three weeks ago. She partnered with Pink Lemonade founder Donna Quintero to organize the event. Quintero founded her Fairfield-based nonprofit less than a year ago after facing her own battle with breast cancer. Her organization offers free services to people dealing with cancer, such as mowing a lawn once a week or providing meals.
Quintero provided the Prusso family with free meals while Renee Prusso went through chemotherapy. Part of the money raised through the fundraiser will go to Prusso’s four children.
Calvert and Quintero both hope that their efforts help raise the community’s awareness of those affected by breast cancer each year.
“There can’t be enough done to raise awareness and raise money,” Quintero.
To learn more about Pink Lemonade, visit www.pink-lemonade.org.
Reach Heather Ah San at 427-6977 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/HeatherMalia.