Arianna Vasquez has A LOT of hair. 

“I’ve always had quite long hair," she says, her long hair cascading down her back in two pigtails.

  • Pony Up cut-a-thon helps collect hair to make wigs for children battling cancer
  • Program was started by a two-time cancer survivor
  • One student took part to honor her grandfather, who was a cancer victim

The 11-year-old can’t remember how long she’s been growing it, but let’s just say a long, long time.  

Now she’s putting her hair where her heart is. Arianna is one of roughly 50 people standing up to cancer by sitting down with a stylist at the Pony Up cut-a-thon held at Serrania Charter for Enriched Studies Elementary School. 

For Arianna, this is a cause that hits close to home. She’s donating her hair in memory of her grandfather who died four years ago from melanoma.

“He was always fun, he liked music," she remembers. "I miss him all the time.”  

Although she was a little nervous and emotional before the event began, Arianna was thrilled to see how much hair she was able to give.

"The perfect amount," she says, holding up a 16-inch pony tail.

All told, stylists cut off 34 feet of hair, enough to make 30 wigs for children who are battling cancer. “For these children to make the choice to cut it to give back to help kids that are in need, it’s just amazing," says stylist Lori Gold who volunteered at the event.

Yevette Peterson started the Pony Up cut-a-thon six years ago and says this is about more than hair. 

“It’s really also about showing kindness, because that gives people hope and that’s one of the most important things they need when they are going through an experience like cancer.”

The two-time cancer survivor loves seeing how willing children are to help in whatever way they can.

“Even though they’re little, they can do something really brave and really important to give of themselves to help somebody who needs it," she explains.