Amy Bottorf has likely never had an audience quite as excited as the one that packed into her little main street salon last Thursday evening.


Nevada High School senior Andrew Saunders was coming to Hair Zone to get his long hair cut short and a group of his closest friends — who often jokingly called him “the girl” as his hair got long — was there to watch it happen. Some even videoed the big event.


Why all the fuss?


Who knows what kids will react to these days, but they certainly were reacting to what was happening with Saunders, and with good reason.


First off, Saunders had never grown his hair quite this long — 12 inches, he told us.


Second, the reason he continued to grow his hair out is inspiring.


“My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer last winter and she had chemo this past spring. That’s when I decided to keep growing my hair out; otherwise, I would have cut it a long time ago,” Saunders said.


In honor of his mother, Mae, who was there with his dad, Jeff, to witness the haircut, Saunders said he wanted to get it done in October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. He was also donating his cut-off hair to a wonderful organization, Children With Hair Loss, which provides hair for children, all free of charge, and many of those kids are survivors of cancer.


As his friends awaited the actual cutting of Saunders’ long hair, one of them wondered aloud how Andrew’s helmet would fit for football the next night. They joked that he might need a smaller-sized helmet now.


Saunders also thought that might be true. In having short hair again, he said, some of the positives would be that he wouldn’t have to worry about his hair coming out of hair ties or braids during a game or practice anymore. He also said it wouldn’t constantly blow into his face when it’s windy.


But he’d gotten used to the long hair and would now probably miss being able to play with his hair, twirling it between his fingers during classes. And, he acknowledged, having long hair made him unique, something he didn’t mind. “I’m always the different person in the group, so I kind of like to stand out.”


He will now stand out as the kid who did a great thing in honor of his mom, who was really happy, he said, to see him do this.


“Cancer has affected a lot of people in my family, and so in helping people, I’m pretty happy and proud that I get to do this.”


A few points of interest about Andrew Saunders:


• The Nevada High School senior is active in football, soccer and track


• He presently plays wide receiver and corner for the Nevada High School football team


• He’d like to play football in college somewhere if a team will have him; but if not, he would like to attend the University of Iowa to study marketing because he likes business


• He had buzz cuts all the way up to eighth grade


• As his hair grew long, it became curly, which he gets from his mom, he said


• He had senior pictures taken with long hair, but plans to have another set taken now with short hair