Mother and daughter make joint donation of hair to Locks of Love

Published: February 25, 2006 | 3629th good news item since 2003

Angelina Carnecchia, 9, was feeling a bit light-headed Wednesday afternoon. She had just had a foot of hair cut off.

Neatly bound into a braided pony tail, the 12-inch hank went into a plastic bag to be mailed to Locks of Love, a nonprofit organization that collects hair and pays for custom-fitted human hair wigs for children who suffer from diseases that cause long-range or permanent baldness. Often the cause of the baldness is a disease called alopecia.

Angelina first heard about Locks of Love when she was 3 years old and her brother, Micah, a teenager, was fighting cancer. Micah’s baldness from chemotherapy was temporary, so he did not qualify for a human hair wig from Locks of Love, but even at 3, Angelina sensed how self-conscious her brother felt without hair.

“I’m going to let my hair grow and then give it to Locks of Love,” she told her mother.

Robin-Ann Carnecchia uttered a motherly, “That’s nice,” and promptly forgot about Angelina’s promise in the wake of everything she was going through with her son.

Then came the day, two years later, that 5-year-old Angelina walked in and said, “I think my hair’s long enough now.”

She had not forgotten her pledge. Soon she was mailing off ponytail No. 1 to Locks of Love, with the vow to let her hair grow again so she could donate again when she was 7.

On Valentine’s Day, 2004, pony tail No. 2 was sent off to Locks of Love, and Angelina said she hoped to be able to send another ponytail by the time she turned 10.

“Why don’t you let your hair grow, too?” she asked her mother.

“She asked me to do it, and without thinking, I said OK,” Carnecchia said.

This week, within days of her milestone 10th birthday – “It’s the first double-digit,” she said – Angelina followed through with that Valentine’s Day pledge.

This time, however, two swatches were harvested. Carnecchia took Angelina’s challenge and she, too, had a foot of hair to send Locks of Love.

The timing of their dual donation seemed perfect. Micah Carnecchia, now 21, recently attained his five-year “cancer-free” mark.

Carnecchia was anxious to get her hair cut.

“I couldn’t wait,” Robin-Ann said. “It was long and straight – too long to curl. I shut the car door, it got stuck in the car door. I would lean over to get something, it would be caught in the arm rest.”

After the cut, she said, she reflexively tilted her head as she got into the car to keep her hair from getting caught in the door. _ “Then I thought, hey, it’s not there,” Robin-Ann said.

Mother and daughter got similar layered, shoulder-length cuts.

Angelina’s hair, her mother said, had to be left long “enough for a bun for the Spring Ballet.”

Though she isn’t sure yet about what path her future will take, Angelina plans to continue donating her hair to Locks of Love.

“I don’t do it so I can get my name in the paper,” she said. “I do it just so I can tell people there’s a need out there. My brother went through it (being bald) – that’s how I know how they feel. They feel like an outsider, just too different.”

Published in Charity, Locks of Love
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