Our Story

As I tell friends and family, I can’t sing, or write songs or poetry, but I know the business of people. With the help of my family, I started the Jana E. Pinker Memorial Foundation in April of 1999. It is my way of remembering my sister, Jana. Jana was diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer in August of 1997. She lived another 15 full months, but passed away November 23, 1998.

In her memory, the Foundation supports charities and arts organizations, awards scholarships and provides for grants and community events. Take a moment to visit the web site. A full financial report can be found under the link for the Foundation Forum. We look forward to hearing from you and sharing the life and memory of our sister and daughter, Jana Elizabeth Pinker.

I remember the first time I grew my hair long was in high school. I was a member of the high school swim team and we would shave our legs and arms for the state championship to gain speed. Then as seniors, we decided to shave our heads as well. To this day, I am not sure if it was a physiological or psychological advantage, but it worked. We all swam faster. The second time I grew my hair long (interesting concept when your father is a United States Air Force Colonel, Retired) was in college. It worked for me in high school, so I decided I would not cut my hair until I completed my undergraduate. Truth be told, Gilgamesh served as a mentor. Upon graduating from the University of Kansas, I cut my hair May 1998.

My sister had been diagnosed with cancer the preceding fall, August 1997. After she passed away 15 month later, Monday, 5.16pm, November 23, 1998, I decided I would not cut my hair again until I had accomplished another life’s goal. Unfortunately, I took me two years to set the goal. June 2003, after completing my Masters program and earning an MA in Spanish, I was ready for another hair cut. My mom asked if I had heard of Locks of Love. I hadn’t. She explained what they do and I knew this was a perfect way to complete my goal. I drove with my mother to the closest participating saloon, Topeka, KS, and donated 14 inches of hair.

I think it was more difficult for my mother than Jan when Jan started losing her hair. She would grow her hair super long. I remember when she wanted to buzz it close because she was tired of dealing with it in her illness. I think Jan would really get a kick out of donating her hair if she could, but she can’t. I can. - Locks of Love, by Jon Pinker

Your Contributions

We would like to encourage any of our visitors, previous scholastic or philanthropic recipients, volunteers or donors, or anyone who might have a story about Jan or someone they new and loved, to write us and share their memories. I believe it is through sharing that the healing begins.