When I was 12, I went to the salon for a ho-hum haircut—but left with 12 inches less of hair. I wasn't having a Sinead O'Connor moment: My hairstylist convinced me to chop off my mane for Locks of Love, a national nonprofit organization that serves children who suffer from long-term medical hair loss. As she prepared to shear, she told me about kids who couldn’t grow hair because of alopecia, an auto-immune disorder, and other diseases, like cancer, that cause hair follicles to shut down. This new information was empowering: I could help—today.
We measured out a foot (my remaining hair would still be below my shoulder). I learned that donated hair must be dry, clean, and in either a ponytail or a braid, measuring at least 10 inches from tip to tip (layers are OK). Locks of Love would use my hair to make prosthetic hair pieces for children. I was convinced; the stylist lopped off my hair.
Since that first donation, I have contributed about 60 inches of hair by cutting it every other year. Recently, I gave another donation, cutting my hair shorter than it’s ever been because, over time, my attachment to my hair has become less and less. To me it is just a haircut. To the kids helped by Locks of Love, it is a new start.
Shear: Any salon can participate in Locks of Love by measuring and cutting a ponytail or braid off. Donations should be placed in a plastic bag and then sent in a padded envelope to: Locks of Love, 234 Southern Blvd., West Palm Beach, FL 33405-2701.
Share: If you can’t bear to part with your locks there are other ways to get involved. Become a volunteer and help organize a Locks of Love event in your area (details here) or give a tax-deductible financial donation. If you work at, or own, a salon, become an official sponsor and post a Locks of Love decal sticker in your window.
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