Destin Elementary shows support for breast cancer awareness with pink hair extensions

Jordan Swanson
Principal Marti Gardner was the second staff member at DES to get pink hair extensions put in by Kale. “We thought we were being creative,” said Gardner on the event. “Little did we know that it’s done nationwide.”

Destin Elementary School sported pink Friday to show support for breast cancer awareness month.

On Oct. 5, the school hosted its first “DES goes pink” event, with hair stylist Deana Kale on site to provide pink hair extensions for the teachers.

For one DES teacher, the month hits close to home. Kindergarten teacher Denise Bir was diagnosed with breast cancer the end of April 2010. She underwent surgery followed by chemotherapy, causing her to miss the 2010 fall semester. For three more years she will be taking medication and will have blood work done every three months to “keep an eye on things.”

“My family here at DES was an incredible source of support — everything from wonderful meals after every surgery/chemo to the whole staff wearing pink on the day I came back in January,” Bir said. “I can't even begin to tell you what a fabulous thing it is to have the DES family surrounding you with constant love and prayers. It was just overwhelming.”

Bir has been a part of the DES family for 32 years.

“It is wonderful to see such awareness being shown throughout DES and the community,” Bir said.

Kale’s response for helping out with this event was “Because it’s awesome — I love doing hair and it’s super cute and it gives people a good reason to put something funky in your hair.”

Kale works at Pure & Co.uture Salon at 36150 Emerald Coast Pkwy. Ste. 104 in Destin, but is building her own brand: dk hair. Kale has been a hair stylist for about eight years, having trained in Los Angeles and New York City.

Principal of Destin Elementary School, Marti Gardner, was getting her hair done by Kale one day and the two thought it would be a great idea to incorporate pink hair extensions into the school’s month of October to bring awareness to breast cancer. Little did they know that sporting pink locks is a national event also known as Pink Hair for Hope.

According to the Pink Hair for Hope website, the campaign has brought together over a thousand salons to raise more than $2 million to fight breast cancer.

Gardner was the second DES staff member to get the pink hair extensions and said with a smile, “I have to, since I’m the one that kind of shamed everyone into doing this.”

Assistant Principal at DES, Shelley Weeks, was the third staff member to get a pink lock put in her hair.

“I think it’s a great way to support the American Cancer Society to show our unity of support as a school,” Weeks said.

Thirty five DES teachers opted to support the cause and decorate their hair with pink strands for $40 — $20 going to Relay For Life and the remainder going toward the cost of the hair extensions, which are made from real human hair.

“It’s a method called tape extensions or seamless extensions,” said Kale. “The adhesive is sandwiched in between your own hair.”

Kale had completed the installation of hair extensions for the first four DES staff members within 35 minutes, setting up her station right outside the school’s front entrance.

Another 10 to 12 teachers who did not choose to get hair extensions, instead wore breast cancer awareness buttons they purchased for $40 each. All of the button proceeds will go toward the cause.

By the day’s end, the teachers who got hair extensions planned to take a group photo and tweet it to Robin Roberts, co-host on “Good Morning America,” to show their support for the American Cancer Society. Roberts is on temporary medical leave from the show for a condition likely caused by complications with her treatment for breast cancer five years ago, stated The Washington Post on Aug. 30.

Throughout October, Kale will provide pink hair extensions for her clients or whoever wants them.

For more information on Deana Kale Hair, visit her website