Friday, March 27, 2009

Locks of Love: A Network of Caring

If you read my blog regularly, you’ll know that I enjoy posting articles for yourLDSneighborhood.com on the Social Networking block. Social Networking is more than just an internet tool; it’s a way of life that affects people all over the world.


Today I wanted to talk about a special form of networking that has brought smiles to many people—it’s called Locks of Love.


You might have heard of this wonderful organization, a charity where children who have suffered from cancer and chemotherapy treatment and other diseases which cause hair loss are given beautiful wigs made of real hair so that they can find some normalcy in a life that’s been turned upside down. LocksofLove.org accepts donations of hair to have these wigs made and I’ve seen some wonderful stories done on people donating hair, but I didn’t know the details of how this process works. I was under the impression that if you didn’t have 10 inches of hair to donate then you couldn’t be a part of this program. I am happy to report that I have found new information to dispel that myth.


If you’d like to visit the Locks of Love website, you’ll see detailed information on the types of hair they accept. Yes, they like to have 10 inches of hair to use in wig-making, but did you know that if you do not have the full 10 inches, you can still donate your hair? Locks of Love sells all other hair of shorter lengths to offset the cost of the wig-making.

I’m very excited about this because we recently had a celebration of hair-cutting in our home. My two beautiful daughters donated their hair to Locks of Love.


My five-year-old Gracie has the most beautiful blonde, THICK hair you can imagine. It was a nightmare to try and brush out, but she loved her “Barbie” hair and I admit I loved it too. We enjoyed braiding it, putting it in a bun, doing cute ponytails, rolling it in curlers, etc. But Gracie said that maybe she would like to have short hair. I wanted to be sure she understood that this was an irreversible change. We talked about it and then I got on the Locks of Love website and showed her pictures of children who were bald and explained how she might help.


Gracie was so excited! We planned a date to cut and style her hair and then donate the hair. She even told her kindergarten teacher that she was getting her hair cut in March. We planned to do this when we visited my family in Idaho and have my friend cut it. Sadly, my baby got sick with RSV and we were unable to go. So I checked the guidelines again and found that I could cut her hair. This was scary—I’m not a beautician, but I called another friend and made an appointment to trim and style Gracie’s hair after I cut off the length. I did this because the hair needs to be completely dry before mailing it in and because her hair is so thick, I thought it might be best to cut it when dry.


Gracie was excited, Mom was apprehensive but we took video and photographs of the event and cut 8 inches of her hair.

My three-year-old, Maggie took part in the hair celebration as well donating a darling 4 ½ inch ponytail full of blond curls.

The best part about this process is we took a regular event of cutting hair and turned it into a learning process for our children. Gracie and Maggie were able to look beyond themselves and see how they could help others. Maggie was kind of along for the ride since she didn’t fully understand, but Gracie understood and was excited. My children were able to participate in a network of love to help other kids.


Locks of Love estimates that nearly 80% of the hair donated to their program is by other children wanting to help.


Doesn’t that just bring tears to your eyes? I know I’m a mom, so I do that sort of thing, but I’m so happy that there are programs like this which make it so easy to serve others.

They even provide a printable certificate you can fill out for your child and they will also send a thank you if you provide an address with your hair donation.

So if you’re thinking about getting a cute spring haircut, please check out the guidelines below and see if you would like to send in a donation of hair.

GUIDELINES FOR ACCEPTABLE DONATIONS

  • Hair that is colored or permed is acceptable.
  • Hair cut years ago is usable if it has been stored in a ponytail or braid.
  • Hair that has been bleached (usually this refers to highlighted hair) is not usable. If unsure, ask your stylist. We are not able to accept bleached hair due to a chemical reaction that occurs during the manufacturing process.
  • Hair that is swept off of the floor is not usable because it is not bundled in a ponytail or braid.
  • Hair that is shaved off and not in a ponytail or braid is not usable. If shaving your head, first divide hair into multiple ponytails to cut off.
  • We cannot accept dreadlocks. Our manufacturer is not able to use them in our children’s hairpieces. We also cannot accept wigs, falls, hair extensions or synthetic hair.
  • Layered hair is acceptable if the longest layer is 10 inches.
  • Layered hair may be divided into multiple ponytails.
  • Curly hair may be pulled straight to measure the minimum 10 inches.
  • 10 inches measured tip to tip is the minimum length needed for a hairpiece.

Please Note:

  • Shorter hair will be separated from the ponytails and sold to offset the manufacturing costs. Although the shorter hair cannot be used in the hairpieces, it still greatly helps to reduce costs.
  • Gray hair will be accepted and sold to offset the manufacturing costs.
  • Colored hair is not usable if it is colored over bleached hair.



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