|Before and after Sarah Wilson, a fourth grader at Tyrone Elementary, shows off her new hairstyle. She recently had two 14-inch ponytails cut off, which she donated to Locks of Love. (Courtesy photo)|
Donating hair to the Locks of Love organization has become a popular choice for many individuals in our area over the years.
Recently, nine-year-old Tyrone resident Sarah E. Wilson chose to participate after watching a St. Jude special on TV. She was able to pull her hair into two pony tails and had 14 inches cut off of each.
Sarah is the daughter of Albert and Kimberly Wilson and is in Mrs. Toto’s fourth grade class at Tyrone Elementary.
Locks of Love is a non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children, under age 18, suffering from long-term medical hair loss.
The organization uses donated hair to create the highest quality hair prosthetics.
It is really becoming a common idea for area youth, but it doesn’t have to be limited to children. Adults can also donate their hair to the organization.
According to the Locks of Love website, “most of the children helped by Locks of Love have lost their hair due to a medical condition called alopecia areata, which has no known cause or cure. The prostheses we provide help to restore their self esteem and their confidence, enabling them to face the world and their peers.”
Locks of Love was first started in connection with a for profit wig making company. Eventually, the organization installed a volunteer Board of Directors and the charity separated from the profiting company to begin operations on its own.
Locks of Love was spearheaded by a retired cardiac nurse, Madonna Coffman, who developed alopecia after receiving a hepatitis vaccination in her 20s.
With medications, Coffman recovered, but fifteen years later, her four-year-old daughter developed alopecia and lost all of her hair.
Over the years, Locks of Love has become a very mainstream idea and has been featured in many magazines and television shows. Over 2,000 hair donations are received through the mail each week, with 80 percent of hair donors being children.
The number of hairpieces produced has also increased significantly over the years.
Initially the charity created 21 hair pieces during the first year. Today, over 1,000 hair pieces are created with recipients in all 50 states and Canada.
It is noted at www.locksoflove.org, “We need hair from men and women, young and old, all colors and races.”
For individuals interested in donating to Locks of Love, there are several guidelines to be aware of.
Locks of Love accepts 10 inches minimum hair length, from tip to tip. Wigs, falls and synthetic hair are not accepted.
Hair needs to be bundled into a ponytail or braid. It needs to be clean and dry, then placed in a plastic bag and padded envelope.
Hair may be colored or permed, but not bleached or chemically damaged. Locks of Love suggests checking with a stylist if individuals are unsure about damaged hair. Curly hair may be pulled straight to measure the minimum 10 inches.
Anyone can cut participants’ hair, as long as the guidelines are followed. Hair swept off the floor is not usable but hair that was cut years ago is usable if it has been stored in a ponytail.
Interested individuals can find more information on the web at www.locksoflove.org. The organization is also in need of monetary donations and volunteers, as well as hair donations.