Story by Sara Paul
Aubrey’s long, sandy blonde hair once blew gently in the Warwick wind, as she enjoyed the almost summer sun in the playground. Her lovely locks were on their way out, though – a decision this eight-year-old made herself years ago.
Seemingly an ordinary kid, Aubrey Tessa Grigalunas is a Sanfordville Elementary School gal on a mission to “make kids happy because that makes me happy!”
Her first step was to donate about 10 inches of her silky mane to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, where it will be combined with other hair and fashioned into a wig. The company offers the wigs free of charge to patients with hair loss due to cancer treatments.
A brave Aubrey made a pact with her Clifton, NJ kindergarten teacher, Miss Nicole Lavender, more than two years ago to cut her hair when it was long enough.
The former long-haired doo-gooders met at “She Cuts Me” Unisex Salon in Lyndhurst, NJ last week, and together, sat for some intense trimming and also long awaited bonding.
After an emotional reunion with one of her favorite students, Miss Lavender felt, “…so excited to give my hair away…but I’m even more excited to see Aubrey and do this with her. It’s really special and we’ve been waiting a long time for this day. Now we are twins!”
With sincere promises to donate again, Aubrey proclaims, “It’s just a good gesture that helps other people…and hair grows back!”
While some little girls might fret at the thought of chopping their lengthy mane, Aubrey matter-of-factly looks on the bright side.
“Well, summer is here so a little less hair will keep me cooler,” she said with a smile.
Aubrey’s proud mom, Michele, recalls the kindergarten agreement saying, “I was so proud because even at age six when she told her teacher she would do this, she was so decisive. I thought she might back out when the time came because she’s such a girly girl, but she is emphatic…and she did not back out.”
Aubrey’s father, Tony, Sr., commends his daughter on “having great empathy, caring for others, and always being a helper.”
Adding even more bits of the youngster’s character bio, Michele reflects that her only daughter was “ambitious, independent and strong even before she was born.”
Mom and Aubrey explain the details of this stubborn gal’s birth on March 15, 2010. Though twin brother, Tony, was delivered at 8:27 a.m., his sister decided to stay in the womb for 30 additional minutes.
“I kicked him out so I could have time to myself,” Aubrey chuckles.
While Aubrey and her family are new to Warwick, arriving in August 2017, they have already thrown themselves head first into the community. With Aubrey tumbling and jumping in gymnastics as well as cheering her brother on in soccer practice and games, the family is also active in the Warwick Friendly Visitor program.
The Grigalunas kids help to grocery shop and deliver goods for an elderly couple. Aubrey is also responsible for caring for her two new kittens, Harley and Jayde.
Quite pleased with her new look, the now short-haired heroine exclaims with attitude, “You can take the girl out of the pony tail, but you can’t take the pony tail out of the girl.”
The Warwick Valley Dispatch would like to feature young people of Warwick who are doing meaningful things. Whether in school, athletics, in the community or at home, we know there are many moving stories that need to be told. These “hero” stories can be from the incredible to the mundane, from the kid who saved his dog from drowning to the teen who takes care of a sibling with special needs. We ask that if you know of any young individuals who would be appropriate for these human interest pieces, that you contact Sara Paul at email@example.com.