Last week, 31-year-old Pavla Glovcikova donated her long, beautiful locks to Children with Hair Loss.
“I didn’t want it to just go to waste and wanted to do a good thing,” she said of her donation to the charity. “Maybe it’ll put a smile on somebody’s face. It was definitely a good thing to do.”
Glovcikova donated her hair because, in October, she was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer, following an initial misdiagnosis that tumor she had was benign.
“Justin’s family encouraged me to go to Johns Hopkins for a second opinion,” she said of her boyfriend and co-owner of Sunshine Crepes, Justin Evans. “And thank God I did, because they called me the second day and told me that they think 95 percent it’s cancer. It’s been a rollercoaster since then.”
Less than a month after her diagnosis, Glovcikova had a mastectomy, and she was able to have her parents stay with her for two weeks before they had to return to the Czech Republic.
“They were here for two weeks, but then they had to go back to Europe. But I’m very happy that I have Justin. Everything happened in the last month and a half. All we’ve been focusing on is getting me better. Literally every other day is going to doctors, and sometimes we wouldn’t even know. They would call and say, ‘You need to come in today,’ or ‘In two days, we need to see you again.’”
Glovcikova’s haircut was free of charge, courtesy of All About U owner Cathy Lynch.
“She came in and asked what it would cost to cut her hair off… That’s what she said — ‘to cut her hair off,’” Lynch recalled.
Lynch insisted the cut be free of charge and offered to help Glovcikova with the donation process.
“It’s just such an emotional thing,” said Lynch. “We try to be there for people who are going through that. There are a lot of times when the customer comes in and says something about cancer and we don’t charge. I feel like that’s how you give back your talent.”
“It’s been very hard emotionally,” agreed Glovcikova. “I was preparing myself for a week, for the haircut. But I think I did good. I didn’t cry.”
Glovcikova decided to cut off the more than 2-foot length of her hair after her doctors said she would lose her hair within a week of her first chemotherapy treatment.
“All of her hair — head, eyebrows, eyelashes, the whole body… She doesn’t have to worry about shaving her legs,” said Evans.
Although Glovcikova has health insurance, the costs involved with her receiving her treatments are still high.
“I have insurance, which is definitely good. But there’s a lot of cost in it. Just going to Baltimore for treatments — we’ll be going three times a week back and forth, so it’s a lot of money,” she said. “Ms. Cathy was so nice to say that she would cut my hair for free. I thought that was a really nice thing of her to do. Right now, I don’t work. I don’t have any income, so this kind of generosity goes a long way.”
Glovcikova said she could not emphasize enough that the people she has met at Johns Hopkins have been so supportive through her illness.
“All the nurses and doctors at Johns Hopkins are very supportive,” she said. “They help me a lot. There are social workers there, too. There was a lady who was standing by me while I was having the biopsy. She was just holding my hand. It was very nice.”
Glovcikova said that, due to her youth, doctors have decided to be very aggressive in her treatment. Currently, she is set to undergo six treatments of chemotherapy in the next four months and should be done by March of next year. After that, she will receive radiation treatment every day for five weeks.
“The chemotherapy is more of a precautionary measure than anything else. If it’s anywhere in you, it’ll kill those cells,” said Evans. “They say there’s a 30 percent chance that that it will come back. But the chemotherapy takes that down to 10 percent.”
Glovcikova is the first person in her family to be diagnosed with cancer, and while doctors are uncertain what caused it, they have considered that it could be residual effects from the 1986 nuclear power plant disaster in the Ukraine.
“Doctors said they didn’t know where it came from, but possibly Chernobyl,” said Evans.
“The doctors in Johns Hopkins actually brought it up. They asked if I was ever exposed to Chernobyl. I was 5 years old,” added Glovcikova.
Faced with such a challenge, Glovcikova is holding her head up high and looking forward — determined to beat her cancer.
“I surprised myself,” said Glovcikova. “I thought I would be the first person to cry in the corner, emotionally broken, but I’m not. I guess, when you have to, you pull yourself together. I keep telling myself to hold my head up high.”
“In my opinion, she’s been incredible,” said Evans. “She’s been strong. It’s a hell of a process. It really is. I’m merely trying to give support as best I can. It’s her fight, and she’s fighting hard.”