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Finding Strength through Hard Times: Illness

Studio 5 contributor shares the story of 3 women who went to great lengths to find strength when it wasn’t easy.


It’s haircut day for Megan Hoeppner, Wendy Smedley, and Angie Lucas who have all been growing out their hair for more than a year. They started when Megan learned her mom had breast cancer. Right away she went online and found every possible resource she could, but she still wanted to do more. “That’s how I immediately felt. What can I do? I need an action item. I need something to do because it’s kind of scary,” relates Hoeppner.

Megan found some comfort in talking with two of her coworkers. Wendy whose mom is a 10-year cancer survivor, and Angie, whose sister-in-law had also just been diagnosed with cancer.

Together, they came up with an idea. “We wanted to be able to do something,” says Wendy Smedley. “You could send her flowers. You can sympathize, but I wanted to do something more and so we all came up with the idea of growing our hair out.”

And that’s what they did, tracking each inch of hair growth as they tracked their loved ones progress fighting the disease.

Angie Lucas remembers, “As my hair was getting longer, hers was getting shorter. Sometimes it was hard to watch that.”

Soon others joined in. Friends, nieces, people they’d never met, even Megan’s brother. “It was something we could do and watch and monitor and feel like we were making a contribution,” says Hoeppner.

Megan, Wendy, and Angie are getting used to their new short hair. They’re happy they were able to do something. They say it made them feel like they had a purpose, and say they’re still growing strong.


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