Lacey Horwitch receives sisterhood Locks of Love
Lacey Horwitch, 9, of Northbrook gets a hug July 27 (about 9:30 a.m.) at home from her mother Laura. Lacey's father David also witnessed his daughter's Locks of Love-style sisterly hair wig presentation. | Karie Angell Luc~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 10, 2012 1:02PM
To put a value on a handmade wig, a “Locks of Love”-style wig, weaving in hair donated by two sisters and one dear friend, could you?
“Lacey loves her wig,” said a grateful Laura Horwitch of Northbrook, whose daughter Lacey, 9, received July 27 a Chai Lifeline-sponsored wig with locks of hair clipped May 10 by Jodi Glick, a Long Grove beautician, in the Horwitch’s residential dining room.
“She is so excited to have her sisters’ hair,” said Laura, a child psychotherapist, who with her husband David, an attorney, were present that Friday morning (July 27) when Sylvia Abramson, case manager of Chai Lifeline (of nearby Lincolnwood), removed the wig from its box to present to Lacey.
“Hair is a cover,” added Laura, “It is on the outside and the wig is so special because it combines part of both of her sisters.
“It isn’t just hair.”
Said David Horwitch: “Lacey has been very excited for her new wig,” said her dad, who made sure to be home for the presentation before going to work downtown in Chicago.
“It looks great out of the box,” added David.
Lacey’s sister, Jenna, 6, a Wescott School first grader, giggled as Lacey stroked the wig. Maya, 11, a Northbrook Maple School sixth grader, who is at overnight camp, could not be at the unveiling but her presence was felt as Lacey’s hands touched likely Maya’s long sleek straight black hair, using a brush.
Maya and one of her best friends, Bekah (Lampert) donated their hair for partial wigs.
Partial wigs are generally more comfortable, not causing itching to the scalp.
“Jenna added about an inch of her hair in case they needed it at the top,” said Laura.
“Lacey changed hats during the day to show off her new do and knowing it is her sisters’ real hair, made it even better. It looks so amazing on her.
“Lacey loved it so much she even asked us to glue it on her head.”
Lacey was thrilled when Abramson and family members showed her the wig.
“Can I sleep in it?” asked Lacey, as everyone smiled with delight. “It’s called a fall, a hat fall,” explained Abramson, of today’s style.
“It’s gorgeous,” she added, “this is human hair, it’s beautiful in the fact that it’s her sisters’ hair.”
Of Chai Lifeline, Abramson said, “It’s all a part of emotional encouragement.”
Chai Lifeline, with its tagline, “Fighting Illness with Love,” maintains a Chicagoland office in Lincolnwood and is based nationally in New York City.
“She (Lacey) has always loved hair, makeup, clothing,” said Laura, “so we thought losing her hair would be traumatic.
“At first she was upset and then within a day told everyone, ‘I am bald and I am beautiful.’
“We kept telling her that beauty comes from within,” said Lacey’s mother.
“I didn’t know how I’d react when Lacey lost her hair but truly, I hardly noticed.
“I saw her gorgeous face and that is all I saw,” said Laura, a 1990 Glenbrook South High School graduate. Lacey’s hair is growing back nicely, says her mother.
Diagnosed with hemophagocytic lymphohistocytis and thyroid hormone resistance, Lacey received chemotherapy at the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital. Ninety percent of her hearing has been impacted.
“Lacey has had some ups and downs medically,” said Laura. “The partial bone marrow transplant still appears to be taking but there are some graft versus host issues like in her lungs.”
“So,” said Laura, “we are trying different immune medications which the first one she had a negative reaction to.
The reaction caused Lacey’s white blood count to go down, affecting her platelets, resulting in immune system suppression.
Two weeks ago, Lacey cut her elbow on her wheel chair leading to an emergency room visit.
“Each day is a roller coaster,” reported Laura, but, “Lacey’s spirits are unbelievable.
“She is happy, sassy and determined. Lacey is a fighter.”
Of generosity: “Chai Lifeline donated the cost of the wigs,” added Laura, “they are an incredible organization that helps families of sick children.
Chai Lifeline’s Chicago division is directed by Rabbi Shlomo Crandall.
“They are some of the most wonderful people I have ever had the privilege of meeting,” said Laura.
“I highly recommend (Chai Lifeline) for families struggling with illness to contact them.”
“It is what is on the inside that matters,” concluded Laura, “Empathy, love, kindness, faith, optimism, friendship, support…that is what life is really about.”
Chai Lifeline is locally located at 6600 N. Lincoln Ave., Suite 300, Lincolnwood, IL 60172. Call (847) 763-1818. Visit www.chailifeline.org.
View Lacey’s July 27 video at northbrook.suntimes.com and glenview.suntimes.com.