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Family puts their heads together to support W.Va. cancer patient

December 21, 2012|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD |
  • Falling Waters, W.Va., resident and cancer patient Natasha Redman had her head shaved Friday night at 9 West Hair Studio in Martinsburg by stylist Chrissy Jacobs.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — With her dark hair starting to fall out due to chemotherapy, Natasha Redman’s family made sure the 24-year-old Falling Waters, W.Va., woman wouldn’t be the only one without much hair for Christmas.

Redman was joined by several family members Friday night at 9 West Hair Studio near Martinsburg where they had their heads shaved in “solidarity” as she battles adenocarcinoma of the nasal cavity.

“When she’s able to grow hair again, that’s when we’ll grow our hair back,” said Redman’s aunt, Connie Caton as salon manager Chrissy Jacobs shaved her head. 

“Her mother and I are going to keep it bald.”

Caton, along with eight other family members, shaved their heads for Redman, who just underwent her first round of chemotherapy, according to her aunt. The salon presented those who shaved their heads with hats. Redman received a red one, which she noted happily, matched her nail polish.

 “It’s just hair - it’ll grow back,” Redman said smiling.

 Caton said her three sisters and her niece initially committed to having their heads shaved in November while they were at Winchester Medical Center. 

 Caton said she mentioned something about her losing her hair and her niece started to cry, which led to them promise to shave their heads if she lost her hair due to her cancer treatment.

 Several other family members subsequently joined in support of Redman’s plight, including her uncle, Arthur “Art” Taylor of Martinsburg. 

“I just need to go to the tanning bed, now,” Taylor joked as he was getting his haircut. 

Redman, her mother Rhonda Foltz, cousin Chelsea Cruse, and aunts Cathy and Connie Caton donated a total of 19 locks of their hair to Locks of Love.  The nonprofit organization provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children suffering from long-term medical hair loss.

“I’m going to put Miracle Gro on it,” Cathy Caton joked as she rubbed her shaved head afterward.

Redman said she was on track to graduate this month from West Virginia University with a master’s degree in secondary education until her cancer diagnosis put that on hold.

“On most days I try not to think about it,” Redman said.

Redman said her doctors told her that nasal cancer typically is found among elderly people and that her age, physical health and attitude are “a plus” in her battle against the abnormal growth that was found in both of her nostrils at the end of October. Redman said she was suffering from repeated nose bleeds and sinus infections.

“I couldn’t breath at all up my nose - at all,” Redman said.

A state champion high jumper while at Hedgesville High School, Redman received a four-year scholarship to continue her track career at WVU.

Given her cancer diagnosis, Redman said WVU gave her an opportunity to resume her education by giving her an incomplete in classes she was little more than a month from finishing.

As she was being shaved by Jacobs, Redman said having short hair is nothing new since she didn’t let it grow long until high school.

Now, she said she’s going to “rock” the bald look that actor Demi Moore had in a 1997 action film.

“Call me, G.I. Jane,” Redman said.

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