Two friends donate hair to cancer victims

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 27, 2012

By Sarah Campbell
KANNAPOLIS — Hannah Davis and Jadyn Steele twirled around carelessly, trying on hair accessories and giggling before climbing into barber chairs at Deja Vous Hair Care where stylists braided their long black hair into braids.
Minutes later they were stunned by the sight of the braids, each at least 10 inches long, as they held them in their hands and admired their new shorter hair dos reflecting from the mirrors in front of them.
The plan to get their hair chopped off had been under way for several months, but both girls still seemed slightly shocked after having their locks lopped off.
“You look awesome,” Hannah, 6, told 5-year-old Jadyn after her haircut was complete.
Jadyn agreed.
“I love it,” she said as she spun around, admiring her new hair do the mirror.
Hannah’s feedback about her own fresh hairstyle wasn’t quite as glowing as the review she gave Jadyn, but maybe she was just being humble.
“I like it. … It’s different than I imagined,” she said with a smile. “My friends are going to be really surprised.”
Kim Davis said a poster for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital set the plan to donate the hair in motion.
“On the poster there were children with no hair; they were bald, and (Hannah) asked us about it,” she said. “We explained to her that sometimes when kids get sick they lose their hair and she said, ‘well, can they have mine?’ ‘’
Kim went to work looking into organizations to donate to before settling on Pantene Beautiful Lengths, a program that partners with the American Cancer Society to donate real-hair wigs to those that are distributed to cancer patients.
Susan Steele said when she found out about Hannah’s upcoming hair donation over dinner, she jumped at the opportunity for her daughter Jadyn to join her.
“My sister is actually a two-time cancer survivor,” Susan said. “The second time she had cancer she had to get chemotherapy and she had really long hair so she cut it all off and donated it before she lost it.
“So it’s kind of personal for (Jadyn), because she remembers her going through that.”
Chance meeting
Hannah and Jadyn have more in common than their decision to donate their charcoal locks.
Both girls were born in the same province in China before being adopted and moving to the United States, where they now live less than 15 miles away from one another. The Davis family resides in Mount Pleasant and the Steeles call Kannapolis home.
The two families met for the first time while the Davises were wrapping up dinner and the Steeles were just sitting down at a local restaurant.
At the time, they didn’t exchange contact information.
But that didn’t matter.
They ran into each other again. This time while dining at the Asian Cafe.
“We saw each other across a crowded room,” Susan said.
“Just like the movies,” Kim said.
The women started chatting and realized the girls were both from Jiangxi.
“We love the fact that we were able to bring these girls from halfway around the world back together,” Kim said. “Since then, the girls and our families have been fast friends.”
Now the families get together at least once a month to catch up over dinner and give the girls a chance to play together.
“We’re famous at the Asian Cafe,” Kim said. “The girls are like two rock stars when we go there.”
Building families
Adoption was always the plan for Kim and Chris Davis.
The couple looked into a domestic adoption, but Kim said they found out adopting in North Carolina would be difficult.
They settled on adopting from China after looking into the process in several countries.
“China has one of the longer international programs and the most stable,” Kim said.
It took the couple 15 months to file all the necessary paperwork for the adoption.
“We waited for China to respond for about 10 months, which at the time we thought was really long,” she said. “We’re actually in the process of adopting our second child now and we’ve been waiting over four and a half years.”
The Davises brought Hannah home with them mere days after their 10-year anniversary, when she was just 11 months old.
Unlike the Davis family, Susan and Jon Steele already had two biological children, Parker, 9, and Max, 11, when they decided to adopt.
“We just felt like our family wasn’t quite finished yet,” Susan said.
They brought Jadyn home shortly after her first birthday.
“They both knew immediately they belonged to us and we belonged to them,” Susan said. “It’s been a great journey.”
Best friends
Although Hannah and Jadyn go to different schools — Hannah to Mount Pleasant Elementary and Jadyn to Trinity United Methodist — they reconnect immediately upon seeing each other.
“They don’t miss a beat,” Kim said.
The girls happily proclaim themselves “best friends.”
“We love each other. We were born in the same China,” Jadyn said. “We like to dress up, swing and do the monkey bars.”
Oh, and laugh. There’s lots of laughing when the pair are together.
“We like to be silly,” Hannah said.
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.