A Woodmore school board member and former girls basketball coach, Mike DeStazio doesn’t want anyone to think he is “tooting anybody’s horn.”
Especially his own horn or a member of his family.
But he’s proud of his daughter, Tammy, who is making an unusual sacrifice for any woman. It’s no sacrifice for Tammy, though, to be donating her hair to be made into a wig for cancer victims.
On January 29 of this year, Tammy and her sister Kelly’s mother, Sharon DeStazio, passed away at the age of 52 after a six-year bout with colon cancer.
“Sharon, their mom, was always about hair,” said Mike. “There was three different occasions she had to lose her hair because of treatment. She always worked very hard to come up with a wig because it was always something that was very important to her, like any other woman, I think.
“Tammy heard about this, and she decided to let her hair grow out in memory of her mom and for somebody that could have a nice wig that is going through this treatment.
“It’s like if you dealt with cancer you can understand the process. The treatment is effective early on and as the treatment becomes immune to the cancer, the cancer gets stronger.
“The one thing Sharon did for them as a mom and a wife is she showed a lot of courage and a lot of strength. You always think you can find a silver lining in a dark cloud, but we became a very close family these last six years and I think the message she left all of us was don’t quit, keep living.
“They are the two that are I see very much like their mom — they are very strong and very spirited and fighters.”
Tammy, who played basketball for her father, now lives in Wapakoneta with her husband and two children. Her husband says he believes Tammy’s efforts are “wonderful.”
“When my hair is long enough, I’ll need it cut,” Tammy said. “I was going to do it a couple months ago, but I thought, ‘Well, maybe I’ll wait.’ I would have more to donate if I wait a couple months longer, so I’m going to wait until next month and then I’ll have plenty.”
Tammy has to get her hair to eight inches from just above the elastic band of the ponytail to the ends, but her length is already well passed that. Sometime this month, it must be freshly washed, completely dried without styling products, and cannot be bleached, permanently colored, and chemically treated.
Why? It takes at least six ponytails to make a Pantene wig. She places the dry ponytail with the elastic band into a sealed zipper lock bag, places the bag in a padded or plastic envelope and mails to Pantene Beautiful Length, 511 Wisconsin Drive, New Richmond, Wisconsin 54017-2613.
Where did Tammy hear about this particular program? On the Oprah Winfrey daytime television show, of course.
“I thought if I had long enough hair I would donate,” Tammy explains. “There are other programs you can donate to, but this specific program is for donating wigs to woman who have cancer and have lost their hair from this treatment.”
Mike says his wife retired from Chrysler in 2004, and when her battled ended it obviously became very tough on the entire family.
“I want to say in testimony of these kids that they live their mom’s spirit on. This is a good example of how their mom lived her life. She’d be very proud of them. If she could look down, I’m sure this would make her day,” Mike said.
DeStazio, Marsha Schettine, and Steve Huss, were originally elected to the school board in 2003 as residents belonging to CATS let their frustrations with then members of the board. Only DeStazio and Huss remain on the board today.
DeStazio had been a successful coach of the girls’ varsity basketball team for 22 years before resigning. He cited differences with the administration and a desire to spend more time with his family as his reasons for stepping down as coach.