NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- New Rochelle High School hockey coach Paul Viggiano lost his mother, Nancy Viggiano, to lung cancer. Coach Viggiano lives in the area and also serves as Director of Business Administration and Marketing for AG Williams Painting Company. “Dealing with a loved one who has cancer is a traumatic experience and it is important to try and make the best of situation, as best as possible under the circumstances. For cancer patients, losing their hair is one of the most shocking experiences to go through. When we went shopping for wigs, we made it a fun experience though. I didn't realize how important it was to have more wig options, especially natural ones, until I went through that experience with her”, said Coach Viggiano.
In hockey there is a term called “flow” which references long hair. Flow is the hair as it "flows" out of the back of the helmet. This term dates back decades. Think, Ron Duguay from the New York Rangers, well known for his “Flow”. It is common for hockey players to grow long hair - or flow. So coach Viggiano realized this was a perfect opportunity to tie in the idea of “flow” and also to do something for the memory of his mother and her battle with cancer. Coach Viggiano enlisted the help and advice of freelance Hair and Makeup Artist Maria Licari,and decided to grow a ponytail. He would then donate his ponytail to Locks of Love at the suggestion of Ms. Licari..
Coach Viggiano announced to his high school hockey team that if they clinched the league championship that he would cut his hair after having grown it for 2 years. Needless to say, the team won, and were waiting anxiously in the locker room with a pair of scissors. Eventually, in front of a crowd of teammates and supporters, Coach Viggiano made good on his promise to donate his locks, thanks to the workmanship and scissors expertise of Ms. Licari.
Said Coach Viggiano: "First, I'm thankful that I work for a company that encourages that we get involved and stay active outside of the business. A.G. Williams Painting allows me the flexible schedule so that I can coach at New Rochelle High School and make an impact. The company is always supportive in my initiatives, whatever it may be. This particular initiative hits home for A.G. Williams since my mother worked for the company for almost 30 years; so to honor her is very special for everyone. My message all of the hockey players and everyone, 'If you have the flow, let it grow and cut it for cancer.'"
Ms. Licari has given over 100 Locks of Love haircuts throughout her career. “Every single time feels like the first time all over again because I go through the motions with each client right before they go through this change of their own. However, realizing the feeling of letting go of your hair is no comparison to the excitement a young child feels when gaining hair back after losing it all of it from illness,” she said.
Maria was asked why giving back to to the community was important to her. “Giving back is the most rewarding part of my career, it genuinely feeds my soul to put a smile on someone’s face. I have given back to the community in various ways by donating my services to multiple foundations and causes. Locks of Love being one of them. As a community we should all come together and be a team, not only in sports but in life as well. As a coach, Paul has set a great example to the younger generation who will keep this going. I believe that any small gesture makes a huge difference and can change a person’s life forever.”
Coach Viggiano has a special relationship with his team. “The kids are really a really great group. I've been coaching the Juniors and Seniors since they were in 7th grade and I came up to Varsity with them, so we have a special bond. One of our team goals before the season is to be active in the community and give back. Earlier this year, a goalie on another team asked the other goalies in Section 1 to help with an initiative that he had put together to raise funds for breast cancer awareness.”
“Our team all decided to take it to the next level and have our entire team make a contribution to the cause - they wore pink stickers on their helmets throughout the season. They were also very supportive of my donation to Locks of Love, especially after I explained to them why I was doing it. Many of them give back on their own in the community whether it is leadership positions, mentor programs, volunteering at the youth hockey league and much more. They get it. They get the message that we are trying to teach - If everyone gives back a little bit, the sum adds up and it goes a long way,” said Coach Paul.
George Williams, President and CEO of A.G. Williams Painting Company is an enthusiastic supporter of Coach Viggiano’s interest with Locks of Love. “It embraces the core values of not only our company, but of my family and his family. It’s not about the bottom line, it’s about giving back to our community and to our society . . . that’s what it’s really about, and for our employees too. Give a hand up, not a hand out.”
For more info on Locks of Love, please visit http://www.locksoflove.org/ of call (888) 896-1588.