NewsPay It Forward


Girl Overcomes Medical Obstacles, Donates Hair To Help Others

Posted at 8:28 PM, Aug 23, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-23 20:28:31-04

GRANDVILLE, Mich., — Sienna Baas will be starting kindergarten this year with a brand new– and much shorter– hair do. The 5-year-old recently decided to donate ten inches of her long, flowing brunette tresses to Locks of Love.

The non-profit charity uses hair donations to create wigs for children who have lost their hair due to cancer and other medical conditions.

“It fit, because of the way Sienna is, she’s very giving,” said Sienna’s dad Steve Baas. “It just makes sense to pay it forward to a child who lost her hair.”

The gesture is even more touching given Sienna’s own medical history. She was born with a large omphalocele, a birth defect where organs grew outside of her body.

“Hers was a giant omphalocele, so part of her liver and part of her intestines were outside in this membrane,” explained Sienna’s mother Kelly Baas. “It was definitely a process that Sienna went through.”

Sienna spent 79 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and had to take feedings through her nose for the first year of her life. She’s since had three surgeries to move her organs into her stomach, along with a procedure to insert a gastrostomy tube (G-tube) to help her eat.

But, when her mom brought up the idea earlier this summer of helping sick children who may lose their hair, Sienna didn’t think twice about donating some of her gorgeous locks.

“She said she would want to, and I said ‘why would you want to help other kids and people?’ And she said ‘because the doctors helped me,’ ” Kelly told FOX 17 News.

Sienna sat down for the ‘big chop’ at Phillip Anthony Salon in Grand Rapids Thursday. With a shy smile, she proudly held up the  ponytail of hair created from the cut.

“She is such a miracle child and she’s been through so much,” said Sienna’s mom.  “Our world needs more of paying it forward to people. If she can do it at age 5, everyone can do it.”

Sienna is relying on the G-tube less these days, but is still trying to adjust to eating pureed foods. She’s currently taking part in the Intensive Feeding Program at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital and hopes to begin eating real foods soon.

For more information on Locks of Love, click here.