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The little miracle who gives back

Five-year-old Jessa Streich, who suffers from multiple health conditions, recently had her first haircut. The hair, cut by Sarah Eblen of Hair A'La More, was donated to Locks of Love. Also pictured is Jessa's mom, Tabitha. (Photo by Megan Radermacher)1 / 3
Pictured is Jessa before her hair was cut. (Photo by Megan Radermacher)2 / 3
Locks of Love is a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the U.S. and Canada who younger than age 21 and suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis. The hair prostheses help to restore their self-esteem and their confidence. For more information, visit the website / 3

A child's first hair cut is a big deal. Not only for the child, but for the mother as well. In the case of Jessa Streich of Alexandria and her mother, Tabitha, it was a monumental moment.

Jessa is a 5-year-old who has suffered from countless health problems ever since she was born prematurely. Some of those problems are a mystery for the family and doctors.

But even though she has endured more than most children her age, the young girl is still giving back to others in a special way.

Thursday, March 4 was the date of Jessa's first haircut. Right up until the hair was cut, Tabitha contemplated whether or not to go through with it, but said she knew in her heart it was the best thing for her daughter.

They decided to donate Jessa's hair to a charity called Locks of Love, which provides hairpieces to children suffering from long-term medical hair loss.

"If it's going to make a child smile, that's all that matters," Tabitha said, admiring her daughter's beautiful, sandy-brown locks.

"It's hard, but I know it needs to be done," she said, explaining that the long hair gets caught in Jessa's wheelchair, her jacket, and under her arm pits, which is unsettling for the child.

Brushing her hair has always been a constant struggle as well, the mother noted.

Jessa's two older sisters, Jemma and Jada, were right there with her as she experienced her first haircut. They both agree that their sister's donation is "really, really awesome."

Tabitha held her daughter tightly on her lap in the swivel chair as they patiently waited for the stylist. Everyone gathered around for the big moment.

Tabitha took a deep breath as the stylist picked up the shiny sheers and made the first cut. No doubt a tear was shed when her daughter's hair was held up in front of her.

"We did it, Jessa!" she exclaimed, asking for a lock of the hair to keep to remember the big day.

The Streich family is undeniably proud of Jessa for enduring her first haircut and giving back to others in the process.

Now there will be a cancer patient somewhere out there blessed with hair of their own, all because of a little miracle named Jessa.

Tara Bitzan

Tara Bitzan is editor of the Echo Press. She joined the company in 1991 as a news reporter. A lifelong resident of Douglas County, Tara graduated from Brandon High School and earned a bachelor of arts degree in mass communications and English with a minor in Scandinavian Studies from Moorhead State University. She and her husband, Dennis, and their children live near Alexandria.

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