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Promise Kept

5-Year-Old Daughter of Cancer Victim Gives



Published: Sunday, July 27, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.

Last Modified: Sunday, July 27, 2008 at 7:27 a.m.

LAKELAND | As she watched the red balloon float into the blue sky, 5-year-old Morgan Faith Ellerbe waved and said, "I love you, Daddy."


Bill Thiel gives Morgan Ellerbe a grin of armiration Saturday as ge gets a trim from Karen Gilbert in an adjacent barber chair.

click to enlarge As the reality of her decision sinks in Morgan Ellerbe, 5, takes a good look at the braid that she donated that will become a wig for a cancer patient. Buy photo


The balloon, which contained a lock of Morgan's hair, was released in honor of her father, Daniel Ellerbe, who died in April of lung cancer.

He was only 38 years old.

Before his death, Morgan and her father made a secret pact: On her fifth birthday, Morgan would donate her long hair that flowed down her back to Locks of Love. The organization provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under age 18 who have lost hair for medical reasons.

"She wanted to do it because that's something her and her daddy decided on," said Jacqueline Chancey, Daniel Ellerbe's sister.

Chancey, who works at Arnie's Barber Shop in Lakeland, cut Morgan's hair.

"My daddy talked about giving my hair to Locks of Love because kids don't have hair," Morgan said.

The smiling 5-year-old sat still throughout the entire process, as her mother, Courtney Ellerbe, and other family members and friends watched.

Asked whether she liked her new haircut, Morgan, whose nickname from her father was "Little Sweetie," said, "I think I love it."

[ Sarah Stegall can be reached at sarah.stegall@yahoo.com or 863-802-7527. ]

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