Longtime Columbus resident Dennis Brandenburg made a big change in his life Wednesday evening – he cut off 12 inches of his hair to donate to Wigs for Kids.
He’s been growing out his hair since March 2019 and it was finally long enough to be chopped off by Danette DePietro, owner and hairstylist of Bella Hair Salon, 1354 27th Ave. #100 in Columbus.
“My dad’s hair color was the same as this and he got lung cancer back in ‘66 and he lost all of his hair. It was just as thick as the hair I have now,” Brandenburg said. “That’s part of the reason why I’m doing of this.”
With his long silver/gray hair, Brandenburg had been jokingly referred to as "Sliver Jesus" by friends and family.
“People come up to me and say, ‘Silver Jesus!’ because they know my kids or they’ll see it somewhere,” Brandenburg noted. “I go with it so I say, ‘If you need to be blessed, come over here’.”
His unique hairstyle had also resulted in some good times, such as a disco party his sister held.
“Back in July, my sister lives in Westminster, Colorado, she had a party (and) the theme was ‘Disco Time’ so I (wore a) big blue shirt on with little mirrors all over it and boots. I had my hair out and it was a good time,” he said.
Although Brandenburg had grown attached to his silver locks, he recounted being annoyed when his hair would get into his face and mouth while sleeping.
His wife, Angie, had been waiting for donation day for a long time.
“I have been telling him several times since day one, ‘I love you, honey, I don’t love the hair.’ I’m really excited about this day where he’s finally cutting his hair,” Angie said.
DePietro explained that the condition of Brandenburg’s hair made it perfect to donate.
“He didn’t blow dry it, he didn’t curl it, he didn’t dye it, so it’s the healthiest of hair that it can be. That’s the best kind of hair for these kids,” DePietro said.
She prepared four sections to be braided then cut off, per donation standards. She also cut off a snippet of his hair for the family to keep as a reminder of the day.
“I’m going to buzz on the sides and the back so I can get the whole 12,” DePietro said. “A lot of times, with women, they want to keep some length. With him, he’s allowing me to clipper this so I can get pretty darn close to get the whole 12 inches.”
Those who see Brandenburg now will see much shorter hair. Angie is especially excited about the new hairdo.
“It looks so good!” she said. “I love it so much.”
In DePietro’s 35 years in the hairstyling business, Brandenburg is the first man she’s had to donate hair to an organization like Wigs for Kids, a nonprofit that provides wigs to children who have lost hair due to cancer.
“I think it’s a really good thing you’re doing, a very generous thing,” DePietro said to Brandenburg. “It’s a nice thing, Dennis, for your kids and your grandkids to see. It’s a nice thing for other people to see, that it is just hair and it does grow back.”
Although Brandenburg’s shorter hairstyle no longer allows him to look like a silver-haired Jesus, his wife noted that he will still always be a memorable person.
“He’s always been silver Jesus but now he’s going back to the silver fox,” Angie said.
Hannah Schrodt is the news editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach her via email at email@example.com.
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