We bonded over her full head of blue hair and the blue streaks in mine. On the day of the interview it was her birthday. She showed up in shorts and a t-shirt with piercings and tattoos. She was a mother of three; her youngest children lost their father in a motorcycle accident on Father’s Day, 2016. It was a sad beginning to an interview, but I knew she was special, because she was about to brighten my day with stories of her beautiful deeds.
Thirty-one year old Jamie Pignatelli moved here nine years ago from Boston. She’s been a hairstylist for thirteen years and has spent the majority of her time working at Cutting Loose Salon. Like others, she has battled with adversity almost her entire life. Born with Scheuermann’s disease, a self-limiting skeletal disorder, Pignatelli’s vertebrae grow unevenly; meaning the back angle of her skeleton is much larger than the front angle. The condition is extremely painful and while several treatments are available, Pignatelli will undergo surgery in the next couple of months.
Instead of concentrating on her worst, Pignatelli finds joy in helping others. For the past seven months, she has been cutting the hair of a female cancer patient in her 50’s.
Since 2015, Pignatelli has provided complimentary and discounted haircuts to “Wigs For Kids” donors. According to its website, Wigs For Kids has been providing hair replacement systems and support for children who have lost their hair because of cancer treatments, alopecia, burns and other medical issues at no charge to families. Prior to that, Pignatelli donated her time to “Locks For Love” for seven years, another organization that provides hairpieces, to financially disadvantaged children, under 21, suffering from long-term medical hair loss,from any diagnosis.
During her time off, she serves as a foster parent to dogs. The process usually starts when someone on social media asks strangers to provide homes for their dogs because they can’t care for them anymore. Pignatelli contacts Satchel’s Last Resort, a dog adoption agency. Satchel’s agrees to get the dog the medical attention it needs, spays or neuters it, puts a micro-chip in the dog and sends it home with Pignatelli for three weeks to ten months. Afterward, the dog is returned to Satchel’s for adoption. In five years, Pignatelli has fostered seven dogs.