Scouts shear their locks for love

Published: December 6, 2006 | 5154th good news item since 2003

At the age of 11, Mariah Shippey has just had 10 inches of hair cut off for the Locks of Love organization.

The Florida-based group uses the donated hair for wigs that go to young patients who have lost their hair because of medical conditions. [How to Beat Hair Loss: The Complete Guide to Surgical, Medical, and Alternative Treatments for Hair Loss]

“I really wanted to make someone really happy,” Mariah said. “I just wanted to give someone my hair because there are lots of kids with cancer.”

Some of her fellow Girl Scouts from Troop 445 in Belchertown also donated hair for this cause, and they all received patches for it.

Mariah’s mother, Kristin Shippey, got involved too.

“I had not had my hair cut in 25 years,” Shippey said. “I thought it was a good idea. Why not?”

There is a 10-inch minimum with Locks of Love.

That was no problem for Mariah, and her mother sent off about a foot-long length.

“We went to the beauty parlor (Hair East in Amherst) and said, ‘Send it in,'” Shippey said.

Based in Lake Worth, Fla., Locks of Love is a nonprofit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children under age 18 who are suffering from long-term medical hair loss.

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 organization’s philosophy is that the wigs provided to these patients help restore their self-esteem and their confidence, so they are better able to face the world and their peers during and after illness.

Shippey said Girl Scout troops are encouraged to become involved with the program. Shippey, who leads her 7-year-old daughter Elena’s Brownie Troop 436, also in Belchertown, said Brownies who donated also earned patches for this extra community service.

Shippey sees it as a worthwhile involvement for the girls.

“They are helping out some child who will appreciate it, somewhere down the line,” Shippey said.

She also sees a benefit for the young donors.

“It gives the girls an opportunity to talk about what it might be like to go through a disease, or hair loss, and how they might go through it,” Shippey said.

Published in Charity, Kids & Teens, Locks of Love
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