When the Alden Christian Theatre Society opens its Christmas production of "Gift of the Magi," it will star a young woman who knows what it's like to have all her hair cut off. She's done it, several times.

"The Gift of the Magi" is the story of a young woman who sells her hair in order to buy her husband a Christmas present. Rachel Wach of Orchard Park stars as Della in the upcoming production and has donated more than 48 inches of hair to the Locks for Love program, which uses donated hair to make wigs for cancer patients.

"I had just been in Orlando, where I played Hermione in a production of a show called 'The Final Battle' over at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter" Rachel said. "I had to have long hair for the production, but I decided that afterward, it was time for a Locks for Love haircut."

But not just any haircut. Rachel decided that in addition to donating her long locks to Locks for Love, she would go bald and raise money for the Bald for Bucks campaign at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

"I had a couple of family members go through treatment at Roswell, and my uncle's death just two weeks before the Bald for Bucks event spurred me on to do it," Rachel said. "Roswell is just such a wonderful place, the people there are indescribably kind and helpful when a family is going through a devastating illness, it seemed just natural to help them, when they had been such a help to my family."

Rachel's neighbor, Dominic Corto, who runs Corto's Salon in Hamburg, did the shearing. Many salons will cut hair for free when it is a Locks for Love cut.

Rachel raised $845 for Bald for Bucks.

"People were so generous -- one person donated $200, and even my poor college student friends chipped in a dollar here, a dollar there to help. My goal was $500. I was blown away."

Rachel loved being bald.

"I had always wanted to know what it felt like, and I can say it's wonderfully freeing. There's no fussing with your hair in the morning -- although it is a little cold at times!"

Rachel attends Buffalo State College, where she plans to major in theater.


"Two Christmas Tales: The Littlest Angel and Gift of the Magi" will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday and Dec. 9-11 at the Alden Christian Theatre Society, 1470 Church St., Alden. Tickets are $9-$11 and can be reserved by calling 937-7770.