A protest was held at a Vernon skating rink Wednesday after a cancer patient was prevented from going inside the building.
Jana Lombardo of South Windsor is under going chemotherapy for metastatic breast cancer.
On Columbus Day, she was wearing a hat when she attempted to enter the Ron-A-Roll on South Frontage Road. The staff told her that if she wanted to come inside, she needed to remove the garment.
"I mean I even took out a chunk of my hair to show him it's falling out and they just didn't care," Lombardo said.
The rink said it's a safety issue and officials do not want hats falling off people's heads while they are skating. The hats could cause a skater to trip and fall, management said.
"Put a helmet on. If it's that important to take your kids roller skating," said an official at the Ron-A-Roll. "I understand it, I understand it."
Lombardo said she did not even want to skate and just wanted to watch her children. Staff did not budge and said she had to take the hat off or wear a safety helmet.
"I didn't want to be the only mom at the snack bar sitting there with a safety helmet on, Lombardo said. "It just makes you look so different. I didn't want my kids upset."
The Kiss 95.7 team, who were wearing pink, skated through the parking lot of the Ron-A-Roll on Wednesday as a form of protest. Courtney from Kiss 95.7 said it is "degrading" to make a woman going through chemo therapy wear a helmet.
"This is for Janna in South Windsor and for every woman who has had to battle breast cancer and chemo therapy and wear a hat," protesters shouted Wednesday morning.
Lombardo was unaware of the rally and did not attend the protest on Wednesday. However, she has been receiving phone calls from strangers on the issue.
"I hope they change their policy because that's ridiculous," said one unidentified person on Lombardo's answering machine.
Colmbus Day was one of the few moments since Lombardo has started chemo therapy that she could spend with her family.
"I was just like one day, you're going to be sick too," she said. "Do you want to be treated like this? This happens to everyone."
Management at Ron-A-Roll said the rules will remain in place and they are for safety and liability reasons.
Lombardo said she never plans to return to the skating rink again.
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