As soon as Meredith Gregory entered His and Her Hair Salon on Washington Road on Friday, she headed to Lycia Saxton's chair.
The 5-year-old North Augustan was ready for her first "big girl haircut," and the opportunity to help another child.
"It's gonna go to girls who are sick and don't have hair," said Meredith, whose 10-inch blond ponytail will be donated to Locks of Love, a nonprofit organization that makes wigs for children 18 and younger with long-term medical hair loss.
Meredith's mother, Lisa, spent several weeks preparing Meredith for her first haircut that would be more than a trim.
Meredith often received compliments on her hair, so she "associated herself with her hair," Mrs. Gregory said.
She was afraid she wouldn't be pretty anymore if her hair was short, her mother said.
Mrs. Gregory assured her daughter that her hair would grow back.
She said she spent a lot of time reading the Locks of Love Web site, and showed Meredith pictures of people who had donated their hair.
The decision to cut Meredith's hair was a practical one, Mrs. Gregory said.
The family has a pool and spends a lot of time swimming during the summer. Keeping Meredith's hair in good condition with the sun and chlorine abuse was difficult, she said.
"I knew we couldn't keep it one more summer," Mrs. Gregory said.
Mrs. Gregory heard about Locks of Love and thought that if she was going to have Meredith's hair cut, why not use it for a good cause rather than have it thrown in the trash.
Despite cutting off a 10-inch ponytail, Meredith's hair still was about shoulder length.
Reach Charmain Z. Brackett at firstname.lastname@example.org.