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Gift of her own locks is 7-year-old's valentine to sick kids
When Carina Ableman jumps out of bed this morning and her mother slowly brushes through the flag of black hair that falls to Carina's hips, the ritual will have special meaning for both of them. Carina is about to donate 12 or so inches of her hair to Locks of Love.
Seattle Times staff reporter
When Carina Ableman jumps out of bed this morning and her mother slowly brushes the flag of black hair that falls to Carina's hips, the ritual will have special meaning.
Several hours later, Carina, 7, will give the best valentine she can think of — 12 to 14 inches of her thick hair to be donated to the nonprofit Locks of Love. It will then be made into wigs for children who've lost their hair to chemotherapy.
Carina is a little scared, she admitted the other day as she cartwheeled across her living room in Bothell. She hasn't had her hair cut in at least four years. The stylists at CF Kids salon at Crossroads mall in Bellevue are donating their time to Carina and others willing to donate at least 6 inches of hair to the charity.
The event is the idea of Kathryn Straub, store owner, who approached the Girl Scouts with the idea. For the past few days, so many girls have come in to donate hair, the store has 150 inches in hand already. Straub is hoping to collect 150 inches more today.
Carina's mother, Brenda Ableman, raised her three daughters to realize that even when times are difficult, you can give to help others.
Ableman, 43, adopted her girls as a single parent, supporting her family from her salary as a systems analyst at Washington Mutual. That income will come to an end when Ableman is laid off in July. And she worries about making ends meet.
Today, Carina, her sisters, Alaina, 4, and Danielle, 18, plan to start the day with an early valentine for their mother — breakfast in bed. On the menu: coffee and pancakes topped with brown sugar and syrup, the girls' own concoction.
And Ableman, whose parents divorced when she was young, will give them and her stepfather her own kind of valentine — telling them how much she appreciates them and how good it is that her three children have three grandparents who get along, share holidays together with her, support her and love her children.
Ableman asked Carina some of the ways she could do nice things for people.
"Like being nice to your sister?" Carina asks as Alaina jumps on her and wrestles her to the floor.
"Maybe make your sister [Danielle's] bed and put a special stuffie [animal] on it," Carina says. "You should do a good deed because you will feel proud of yourself."
Ann Rubie, Carina's teacher at Fernwood Elementary, calls Carina "a good friend to others. I can always count on Carina to step in, without being asked, to help a classmate. ... She is eager to help and doesn't seek attention for her kind deeds, which is very mature for a first-grader," Rubie says.
"Her giggle and enthusiasm are contagious."
Nancy Bartley: 206-464-8522 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
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