With a shy smile, four-year old Addie Rice looks up at her great-aunt, Paula Craft. Addie has a lot to smile about — she is at a family dinner celebrating her recent contribution to Locks of Love, an organization that uses donated hair to make wigs for cancer patients.
Addie’s donation, a 10-inch shiny brunette ponytail, was given in honor of Paula on Feb. 5.
Paula is well known and deeply loved by many in the community. She is the wife of David Craft, and has three grown children, Charlie, Collin and Jackie. She is an active member of the First Baptist Church of Henrietta, and participates in the Singing Christmas Tree annually. Paula began her teaching career at Bellevue ISD in the early 1970’s, then spent 30 years at Henrietta Elementary and Junior High Schools. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2009, and continued to teach until the cancer metastasized to her bones, forcing her to retire in 2010.
“She’s so little, but seems to understand the importance of what she did”, said Paula of Addie’s donation. During four years of continuous chemotherapy treatments and four rounds of aggressive radiation, Paula has lost her hair twice.
Addie is the daughter of Jon and Miranda Rice of Wichita Falls, who have taught her the importance of giving to those less fortunate.
Addie is a compassionate child, who donates four toys to Faith Mission every Friday, said her mother. At the age of three, she was troubled by the sight of a homeless man sleeping under an overpass in Wichita Falls. She told her parents to go get him a McDonald’s happy meal, so that he would be happy. Jon and Miranda drove to a nearby McDonald’s and bought the man a meal, then delivered it to him. Addie received a smile and wave from the man as her parents drove away.
Addie said making the donation in honor of Aunt Paula made her feel good. “There are kids that are sick. They need more hair. Jesus would have done it”, she stated matter-of-factly. “Kids who don’t have hair- they need it. I will grow mine again, and donate it again.”
Addie is an inspiration to those around her, including Paula, who is hopeful for the future. “Someday, they’ll find a cure… I’m sure. I hope they do.”
Editors Note: Sasha Kelton is a contributor to Pioneer-Sentinel.com. She donated 12 inches of her hair to Locks of Love in 2003, after her father’s diagnosis with stage-four renal cell carcinoma. She lost her father to cancer two months ago, and is inspired by Paula and Addie’s story.