Good News Blog

Locks of Love

Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2008

Russell Crowe’s Ponytail for Charity

The Australian actor Russell Crowe, co-starring with Leonardo Dicaprio in “Body of Lies
“, will give his hair to Locks of Love.

He’s said to be attached to his hair but excited to help the children’s charity.

Locks of Love is an organization which makes wigs and other hair pieces for young cancer patients. Some but not all wigs are given away, most are paid for.

Russel Crowe has been growing his hair for his role in the upcoming Robin Hood movie “Nottingham.”

Before being able to donate his hair it needs to reach the minimum length of 10 inches.

Thursday, Jul. 10, 2008

4-year-old boy wanted to give

Give credit to Brandon Wilkes Tidwell, 4, who grew his hair halfway down his back so that it could eventually be cut off and donated to make wigs for children who have lost their hair.

Brandon was just 3 years old when he saw bald children on television and decided he had to help them. He endured the indignity of being mistaken for a little girl in order to stay true to his goal. For the obvious reason, most donors are, in fact, girls.

His hair has been cut and donated to Locks of Love, a nonprofit Florida group that accepts donated hair for wigs for children with hair loss. Brandon now looks more like a boy. But this may not be the end. He’s thinking about growing it out again for future donations.

We wish him well with any such goal. He’s truly a special little boy.

Monday, Jul. 7, 2008

Washington Township teen grew hair for image, cut it for charity

Washington Township teen Sebastian Canigiani didn’t mind being ridiculed a bit by his friends for having long hair.

After all, he had grown it with the best intentions at heart.

Four years ago, the 13-year-old guitarist began letting his hair grow long to complement his rock star image.

About two years later, he made the decision to grow it longer and have it cut and donated to his father’s friend, Marty “Moe” Ferrari, who was diagnosed with cancer.

Ferrari lost his battle with the disease last August but Sebastian remained committed to a charitable cause.

He decided to give 13 inches of his wavy, brown tresses to the Locks of Love foundation.

Locks of Love, a nonprofit Florida organization founded in 1997, provides hairpieces to children in the United States who suffer from long-term medical hair loss.

Canigiani only had to grow his hair 10 inches to make a donation, but he went the extra mile.

His mother, Valerie Canigiani, her son will help four children because of the length and thickness of his donated hair.

Hair stylist Kim Hazy of Washington Township, a friend of the Canigiani family, cut Sebastian’s hair for free May 20.

Sebastian’s mother, Valerie, said the haircut was a drastic change for her son.

“He got quite a reaction in school the next day. Teachers didn’t know who he was,” she said with a laugh.

Sebastian said he now prefers his hair short, especially since the summer has arrived.

He said there was much more support than criticism for his deed.

“I got a lot of good comments,” Sebastian said. “A couple kids wanted to do it, too.”

Thursday, Jun. 5, 2008

Kind heart, short hair

Unlike most high school seniors, Lukas Garrison waited until after graduation to cut his hair.

The young man from Solon Springs has become known for his long auburn ponytail, which he has been growing since he was a freshman.

“At first I didn’t like it,” said his sister Haylee, 14, because everybody kept asking her about her brother’s lengthening hair. “Now I like it; it’s unique.”

Thursday, the 18-year-old donated his 20-inch long ponytail to Locks of Love. The nonprofit organization uses donated hair to provide hairpieces for children suffering from long-term hair loss, often due to cancer.

“Somebody’s going to appreciate that hair,” said Garrison’s mother, Traci. She said her son took a lot of teasing while growing his locks, but he didn’t let it bother him.

“He’s just got a very kind heart,” she said.

The hardest part of the process was going from a crew cut to bangs at the very start.

“As soon as I could get it back in a ponytail, it was in a ponytail permanently,” he said.

Garrison, a clarinet player, wore his ponytail to band concerts. He traveled to France, Italy and England with classmates as part of their AP English trip with his long hair held back.

It hasn’t kept Garrison from landing jobs. The teen currently monitors the boat landing for St. Croix Inn. One summer, his mother said, he held down three different jobs.

When asked why he grew his hair so long, Garrison said it was a combination of “sheer laziness” and a chance to help others.

He decided to try a “surfer” style for the next month and a half before it becomes a military buzz cut. He leaves for U.S. Marine Corps basic training in July.

“I’ve been interested in the military since I was 3,” he said. “I believe in serving my country.”

In a way, said his mother, he’s following in the footsteps of his grandfather, Ernie Garrison, who served in World War II.

Kids at school used to think Garrison’s long hair was “weird,” Haylee said, but “I think they learned to appreciate it.”

As stylist Meredith Johnson gathered and clipped Garrison’s hair Thursday at Regis Salon in the Mariner Mall, his mother and sister looked on.

“I like it,” Haylee said.

“What a difference,” said her mother.

For the first time in years, she said, it won’t take two days for her son’s hair to dry.

Garrison knows he will miss the hair, but he was glad to see it go. He smiled as he looked in the mirror.

“My head is really light now,” he said.

Johnson said Regis is one of many salons that collect hair for Locks of Love. It must be at least 10 inches long to donate, she said. While the customer still pays for the hair cut, Johnson said, the salon ships the hair out.

Saturday, May. 31, 2008

Lots of love

Adding Definition Hair & Spa would like to thank all who participated in or made donations during the recent fundraiser for Locks of Love.

Sarah Waite from Winnisquam School District approached us with the idea, and we’d like to thank her.

To all who participated, especially those who donated their hair (which was approximately 27 individuals), we would like to say thank you.

Adding Definition Hair & Spa is an official Locks of Love salon, so those who could not make it during the fundraiser may stop by anytime to donate.

Thanks to Mulligan’s Restaurant & Tavern, which supplied food for the stylists and volunteers.

Thanks also go to Paul Mitchell School of Hair Design for allowing students to come and help our stylists with this very important fundraiser. Thanks to 94.1 FM, the local newspapers and WMUR for announcing this event.

Friday, May. 30, 2008

7-Year-Old Diabetic Girl Donates Hair To Locks Of Love

An East Texas girl decided that other people’s needs are greater than her own. So, she’s got a hair cut, and not just any hair cut.

7 year-old Shadda Botkin is donating ten inches of her long and beautiful hair to Locks of Love. The idea came from a hospital visit. Shadda was diagnosed with diabetes at age 5. Recently, she went for a check-up at the Children’s Medical Center in Dallas. She says what she saw at the hospital made her want to share her hair to give to someone else.

“I chose to cut my hair because I saw somebody who didn’t have hair and they had cancer. I hope that they grow their own hair, and they have money to get their surgery,” said Shadda Botkin.

Shadda’s Dad says he might miss his little girl’s hair, but he is very proud of her.

Thursday, May. 29, 2008

Little girl with long hair has big heart

Emma Benavides wanted to help people who lost their hair due to cancer treatments. This is not unusual according to the Locks of Love Web site, which states that it is an estimated 80 percent of all donations come from children who wish to help other children.

Emma, age 5, is the daughter of Robert and Krista Benavides and granddaughter of Tom and Sandra Duffee, all of Kingwood.

Emma’s grandmother, Joan Hart, of Corpus Christi, was diagnosed with stage 3-B lung cancer in July 2007. While Hart was in Houston undergoing cancer treatments, the family explained to Emma that some cancer treatments cause people to lose their hair. The Benavides family learned about Locks of Love, a nonprofit organization, from an information packet supplied by M.D. Anderson Hospital.

Emma wanted to help. Emma’s hair at the time had never been cut and hung well below her waist. Emma’s mother and grandmother made plans to schedule Emma’s very first haircut on her fifth birthday in early April. She wanted to donate her hair to Locks of Love in honor of her grandmother.

Hart did not live to see her little granddaughter make her donation; Hart passed away March 30, 2008. Twelve inches of Emma’s hair was cut on April 8. The salon did not charge for the haircut after learning of Emma’s plans.

On May 6, Emma’s mother also cut and donated her hair to Locks of Love in memory of her mother.

“When you hear about these organizations, at the time you think, oh, what a great cause, but you generally don’t do anything about it until it affects you personally,” said Benavides.

The Locks of Love Web site explains how anyone can make a donation for this worthy cause. For example, donated hair cannot be bleached and must be a minimum of 10 inches in length. Donations from people of all races, all ages, male and female, are needed.

People can donate simply by informing their hair stylist that they want to donate to Locks of Love. The stylist will separate the hair into ponytails, cut it, and give it back to be mailed by the donor to Locks of Love.

Wednesday, May. 14, 2008

Girls surrender hair for Locks of Love

Deepa Patel was “freaking out” in the last few minutes of her school day at Mason Middle School May 12.

“Oh my God, it’s going to be gone in a few minutes,” she said.

“It” would be Patel’s hair, and she was one of 13 girls at the school who resolved to donate eight, 10 or more inches of their cascading hair to Locks of Love and Beautiful Lengths, nonprofit groups dedicated to providing hairpieces to disadvantaged patients of cancer and other medical conditions resulting in long-term hair loss.

Monday’s “Cut for the Cause” was a culmination of a school year of hair growing.

Mason Middle’s CSI club – Christian Students Involved – started the year by asking girls at the school to grow their hair out until May to donate for the hairpieces, which can cost more than $1,000 and take eight ponytails of eight to 10 inches in length to make.

“So many people are affected by cancer,” said Rebecca Stewart, president of the student group. “It was really just something we wanted to do.”

Stylists from Intuition Salon in Mason donated their services for the haircuts, lining up the girls in the middle school’s cafeteria, placing their hair in elastic bands and snipping the hair.

“I feel really good,” Patel said afterwards, sporting a new bob. “The hair will grow back, and it’s for a good cause.”

Sisters Megan and Lauren Rose had not yet gotten their hair cut.

They both said they were nervous, but were resolute in going forward, because they were getting their hair cut in honor of Leo Johnson, a friend who died last year of cancer at age 13.

“We really wanted to do something for him,” Megan said.

Added Lauren: “I think he would be proud.”

Tuesday, May. 13, 2008

Westport girls donate their hair

When 7-year-old Michaela Leach got her second-ever haircut on Saturday, she couldn’t wait to get rid of a whole foot of hair. It was heavy, she said, and impossible to brush. Shampooing was a trial.

But even better than a lighter, easier to wear hairstyle, Michaela said, was the fact that her hair was going to “Locks of Love.” Someday it may be on a wig meant for a child who has lost her hair completely.

Michaela was accompanied to the Regis Hair Salon at SouthShore Mall in Aberdeen by her sister, Amiah, who will be 5 next week. Before Amaih had her hair trimmed, it cascaded practically to the top of her legs.

Nina Miller, the girls’ mother, couldn’t hold back tears. She said she knew it was silly, but her girls had worn Rapunzel-like hair for so long she was sorry to see it go. Plus, the haircuts reminded her that Michaela and Amiah are growing up.

Pat Kurylo, the girls’ grandmother, said they have an aunt who has donated her hair to Locks of Love four times, so it was natural that they would want to take part. They especially wanted to after seeing a little girl in a hat and learning that she had lost her hair.

Michael Leach, their dad, said he was grateful that his daughters are so sensitive. “I think it’s a great way for them to be helpful for others,” Leach said.

When the girls learned they’d need at least nine inches of hair to donate, they set a goal and went for it, their grandmother said.

“They would brush it and take care of it because they knew someone was going to get it,” Kurylo said.

Not only were the girls happy to give away their hair, they were excited over their new haircuts.

Michaela got a shoulder-length page boy. She won’t have to braid it up to avoid lice when she goes to Ocosta Elementary School, which made her clap with joy.

Amiah got a bob with shorter hair in the back.

Miller couldn’t get over how much older her daughters looked.

“You look so beautiful!” she exclaimed through tears, embracing Michaela.

“I’m proud of you.”

Wednesday, May. 7, 2008

Gift to Locks of Love

On April 27, 2008 Kayla Griego, age 10, of Eagle Point, fulfilled one of her dreams. After waiting for about a year to get her hair cut, she walked into Cost Cutters on Delta Waters Road where Carrie was waiting to give her a hair cut.

This was not to be just any hair cut. Kayla’s hair was below her waist. The fourth grader at Little Butte School had made the decision. She wanted her hair cut and donated to “Locks of Love,” a non-profit organization that provides hair pieces to financially disabled youth under the age of 18. These children suffer from major medical issues on a long term basis with subsequent loss of hair.

The mission of “Locks of Love” is to return a sense of self confidence and normalcy to children who have lost their hair by utilizing donated hair to provide the highest quality hair prosthetics.

Carrie cut 11 inches off Kayla’s hair and still left it at a nice length. From the smile on Kayla’s face, one can tell that she has done something she really wanted to do. When asked why she did it, she said, “I wanted to give a little girl a wig made with my hair so she would not have to have people see her bald. Because people can make you feel bad if you look different.” When asked if she could do it again, she said “Hmmm, maybe.”

“You have something to be proud of,” said her great- grandmother, Dona Spence. “All it takes is one person to make a difference and you have certainly made someone feel special. ”

Kayla is the daughter of April Crowder. Her grandmother is Susan Wickersham and her great-grandmother is Dona Spence, all are Eagle Point residents. Her mother felt it would be too emotional to watch the locks being cut, according to her great-grandmother, so her grandmother and great-grandmother accompanied her to the appointment.

Monday, Mar. 31, 2008

Girls give up their locks for kids in need

Last year, when health teacher Maura Kerkezis challenged her students at the Martha Brown Middle School in Fairport to do something for the community, she had a definite idea in mind.

Kerkezis, whose mother is a breast cancer survivor, proposed having students donate their hair to Locks of Love, a public nonprofit organization that provides hair pieces to financially disadvantaged children under 18 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis.

According to the organization’s Web site, most children lose their hair due to a medical condition known as alopecia areata, which has no known cause or cure. The donated hair is used to create the highest-quality hair prosthetics/hairpieces.

On Sunday morning, seven girls ages 7 to 12 answered Kerkezis’ challenge by coming to The Spa at the Del Monte in The Del Monte Lodge, 43 Main St., in Pittsford to have their hair cut for Locks of Love.

The girls, accompanied by their parents, had grown their hair long for the event. Kerkezis also participated by having her mother, Anne Beeman, 63, of Fairport, cut her hair.

Beeman, whose birthday was Sunday, was thrilled with the turnout.

“I’m so proud of them for supporting this cause,” said Beeman, who has had three bouts of breast cancer since 1999. She has been cancer free since a bilateral mastectomy 1½ years ago.

Beeman’s two granddaughters, 7-year-old Abi and 9-year-old Georgia, students at Brooks Hill Elementary School in Fairport, also had their hair cut.

“I’m extremely proud of these kids,” Kerkezis said. “Hair is a girl’s identity. To cut it off is a huge deal. This is about kids helping kids. A wonderful lesson for them.”

She added that her own daughters had watched their grandmother go through the treatments for cancer.

“It’s close to their hearts and one of the pieces they wanted to do,” Kerkezis said.

The other girls participating were Emma Brown, 10, of Canandaigua Elementary School; Caitlin Muncey, 7, of Brooks Hill; Alaina DeCamella, 7, of Paul Road Elementary School in Chili; and Aubrey Bechtold, 12, and Emma McLaughlin, 11, both of Martha Brown. Following the hair cuts, each girl’s and Kerkezis’ hair was styled.

Emma Brown said she was proud to help, but “I was sort of nervous. My hair is hard to take care of.”

Liz Brown, Emma’s mother, who is also a teacher at Martha Brown and a good friend of Kerkezis, said her mother is a 35-year breast cancer survivor.

“I’m very proud of Emma for doing this,” Brown said. “It’s a very mature decision on her part.”

Aubrey had volunteered her mother, Linda Corey, a hairstylist at the Spa at Del Monte, to cut hair.

Corey presented the idea to spa manager Lynda Plain, who said it was a good idea to give to the community.

Plain said the other stylists jumped at the chance to help. Five stylists volunteered to cut the group’s hair before the spa opened for business on Sunday. Plain said the stylists trained for the event by viewing a haircutting video on the Locks of Love Web site. This was the first time the Spa at Del Monte hosted and participated in a group event, Plain said, adding more are planned for the future.

Corey said 10 inches of hair is the required donation to Locks of Love. If the hair that is cut is less than 10 inches, it’s sold at market value and the proceeds are donated to Locks of Love.

Each girl’s dry pony tail was placed into plastic zip lock bags that will be forwarded to the organization in Lake Worth, Fla. It takes six to 10 ponytails to make one hairpiece.

“It’s great that these kids are excited about doing something bigger than they are,” Corey said.

Added her daughter Aubrey: “It made me feel good to be able to help someone. They need it more than I do.”

Monday, Feb. 25, 2008

Cops unite in hairless solidarity

When Officer Eric Schultz started losing his hair from chemo treatment a few weeks ago, he never imagined it would result in the unity he saw Saturday.

Sitting in large classroom at Wauconda High School, Schultz watched as dozens of fellow officers joined him in hair-less solidarity.

For the 23-year-old Wauconda officer it was one of the brighter moments of a whirlwind winter that’s included an osteosarcoma (a form of bone cancer) diagnosis in November and amputation of his right foot earlier this month.

“I never expected a huge event like this,” Schultz said. “It’s made it much easier to go through the treatment. It’s great.”

More than 70 people – the majority police officers from Wauconda and surrounding communities – shaved their heads at WHS Saturday to support Schultz and benefit the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which raises money for pediatric cancer.

The scene resembled a highly-efficient barber shop, or maybe a military salon. Seven at a time, lush-haired officers were shorn. Nearly as fast as they sat down their locks were cut and they were sent on their way, rubbing newly-chromed domes as the next officer took a seat.

Getting a cut was a no-brainer, said Wauconda detective Keith Ringham, who was one of 13 village police officers to shave his head Saturday.

“It’s important to be there for (Schultz),” Ringham said. “It shows the unity between police officers.”

Wauconda police were joined by officers from neighboring Island Lake and from the Algonquin Police Department. Even recruits from the Suburban Law Enforcement Academy took part. The academy’s most popular current student, Lake County Sheriff’ Mark Curran, shaved his head for the first time in his adult life.

While his 8-year-old son, George looked on and criticized the new do, Curran said he was happy to show support for another officer.

“It’s the nature of law enforcement,” Curran said. “When one is in trouble, you rally around them.”

Some women even got in on the action. Johnna Garrett, a dispatcher at Wauconda cut 10 inches of her jet black hair to donate to Locks of Love, which uses the hair to make wigs for chemo patients.

By the end of the day more than 70 heads had been shaved, and Wauconda police raised an estimated $18,000, which was well above the initial goal of $5,000, said Deputy Chief Patrick Yost.

In a few months the story will get even better. When treatment is complete Schultz is expected to be fitted for a prosthetic foot, and will likely rejoin the force.

“Everyone’s support has just been huge,” Schultz said.

Monday, Dec. 10, 2007

Six-year-old gives big part of herself to help kids

Six-year-old Haylea Starr Knight of Reidsville is giving a special gift to a child this Christmas season ? her hair.

Knight has had open heart surgery twice. She knows what it’s like to have help from others, and she wants to help other children who are in poor health.

Knight wrote to Locks of Love, and she also sent 13 inches of her silky blonde hair.

“This year for the holidays I wanted to do something for a kid who has cancer,” Knight writes in her letter. “When I was in the hospital having surgery to fix my heart, my nurse told me about Locks of Love, since my hair was long. I told my mom I wanted to get my hair cut to make a wig for a kid that has cancer. So I had a haircut and we are sending my ponytail to them, so a kid can smile with hair for the holidays.”

Pamela McKinney Capps, Knight’s neighbor and a hairdresser at Hair Reflections on N.C. 65, cut Knight’s hair.

“I was shocked when Haylea asked me to cut all her hair off,” said Capps. She said the neighborhood children gathered in the yard to see Knight after her hair was cut. Capps’ 7-year-old son, Christian, and 8-year-old nephew, Kyler Whicker, were upset when they saw that Knight’s long locks had been removed.

“They had their hands on their hips and asked, ‘Why did you cut off all of Haylea’s hair?'” said Capps.

Knight’s open heart surgery in July prevented her from doing the things she enjoys the most. But she quickly rebounded and is jumping around, having fun once again.

Knight’s grandmother, Starr Tuttle, calls her “a bottle of energy.”

“You would never know this child had heart surgery. She’s wide open,” said Tuttle.

“It’s just by chance that they found her heart condition because she was very healthy.”

In August 2006, Tuttle took Knight for her 5-year-old checkup, and the doctor discovered the problem. He referred her to a cardiologist, who determined Knight had an anomalous left coronary artery. The condition occurs when the left coronary artery comes out of the pulmonary artery, instead of its usual site of origin, the aorta.

“It’s very serious and very rare,” said Tuttle. “One in every 300,000 children are born with it. They usually catch it before they are 2 years old.”

Tuttle said Knight has again started growing her hair for Locks of Love. She has even persuaded some of her friends to donate their hair.

Capps said more and more children are donating their hair to Locks of Love because awareness is spreading. She said hair donated to Locks of Love must be at least 10 inches long and must not be dyed or permed.

Knight says she doesn’t miss her long hair.

“I like having short hair. It’s easy to brush,” she said.

Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2007

Locks of Love lessons from fourth grader

An act of giving grew in importance thanks to a Colorado Springs fourth grader. Maddie Werner courageously stood before St. Mary’s High School students telling why their service is so important.

The school’s been focusing on the theme of giving. According to Junior Libby Wigand, “We basically wanted kids to have the opportunity to give something for the sake of giving.” They decided to donate hair to the Locks of Love program which uses the hair to make wigs for kids who have lost their hair.

Before the cutting started Maddie stepped up and told the students her story. Almost two years ago her hair suddenly started falling out and was totally gone within two months. Doctors diagnosed Alopecia, which Maddie says is “a really big word for hair loss. It’s like somebody turned a switch and all my hair fell out.” This is her first time telling about the disorder in public. She matter-of-factly talks about wearing a wig and that it’s important to kids like her “so kids go out in public and they can actually have hair so they can just blend in and nobody goes up to them and asks them weird questions.” She says before she had a wig “sometimes kids would come up to me and say, ‘Do you have cancer?’ And I’m like no.”

Many of the high school students commented they learned a lot from a fourth grader.

Around thirty girls signed up to donate their hair. When the cutting started more than a dozen others came out of the bleachers to also donate.

Monday, Nov. 5, 2007

Teen cuts six years of hair to help others

Talon Nichols hadn’t cut his hair in six years, and it was 26 inches long. So when the South Umpqua High School senior showed up well-shorn, he got some strange looks.

He hadn’t had it cut since the sixth grade, but he did so for a good cause.

He will donate the hair to an organization that makes hairpieces for children who have lost their hair for medical reasons.

“It was something I just came up with myself because I’ve grown up into a family of Christians,” he said. “So it just came to me naturally.”

He decided to wait until his senior year to do it.

Teacher John Riggs moved from Coffenberry School to South Umpqua High School this year and remembered Nichols and his hair from four years earlier.

Then, Nichols showed up with most of it gone. He’d sent it to the nonprofit organization Locks of Love.

“I decided to ask him, ‘What in the world ever possessed you to cut your hair?'” Riggs said. “I just thought it was part of his identity, of who he liked to be.”

Riggs found it remarkable that Nichols had planned to give his hair away so many years ago and stayed steadfast in his beliefs, that he knew he was doing the right thing, he said.

Locks of Love uses hair 10 inches or longer to make hairpieces that would cost $3,500 to $6,000, according to the organization’s Web site.

Most recipients are girls with an autoimmune disorder called alopecia that causes hair follicles to shut down or cancer victims who lose hair because of chemotherapy.

Nichols won’t know who got his hair because it usually takes 10 ponytails to make one hairpiece. He just gave the hair because he wanted to help out, he said.

He said no one ever criticized him for having long hair. His mother was more worried when he wanted to shave his head. A stylist talked him out of that.

Nichols said his long hair fit with his role as a drummer.

Monday, Oct. 29, 2007

Students shear hair to help Locks of Love

Chase Martin spent his 21st birthday surrounded by a group of friends clutching a gleaming pair of scissors.

For Martin, a junior, donating 10 inches of his hair to Locks of Love last month was No. 1 on his list of priorities.

“I invited all my friends and just stuck my head in a trash can and let them go at it,” he said.

“All my different friends got to take a swipe at my head.”

Locks of Love is a nonprofit organization that provides hairpieces to children younger than 18 who suffer from long-term medical hair loss.

Most of the children who receive hairpieces suffer from alopecia areata, a non-life-threatening autoimmune disorder.

Lauren Kukkamaa, communication director for Locks of Love, said the disease has no known cause or cure and is permanent in most cases.

“They can still go to school and lead a normal life, but many children stop doing these things because of their hair loss,” she said.

Kukkamaa said many of the hair pieces go to children suffering from cancer as well.

Krista Pool, a junior who has donated her hair to Locks of Love twice, said she was inspired to give when her mother died of cancer.

“I thought it was a good way (to give back), and I wanted to get my hair cut anyway,” she said.

Pool said she donated for the first time when she was a senior in high school. It took more than a year for her hair to reach the 10-inch minimum donation length.

Kukkamaa said the organization receives donations from diverse groups.

“Families and children who might not have the resources otherwise see this as a way to get involved and give back that’s a little less traditional,” she said.

College students fit into that mold as well.

Martin said that donating to Locks of Love was rewarding, but that he was relieved when he was finally able to cut his “massive head of black hair.”

“I think that it’s pretty cool to have a chance to be outwardly focused on other people,” Martin said.

“This is an example of a time you can do it without trying very hard, and it’s an opportunity to help people and still be lazy. That sounds great to college students.”

Thursday, Oct. 25, 2007

Girl donates her ponytail

Fourth-grader Claire Nickison and her mother, Marita, anxiously arrive at their local hair salon. The hairdresser smiles to both of them, knowing the plan for Claire’s haircut. It is fast and easy.

With a snip of the scissors, Claire’s 14.5-inch ponytail is no longer attached to her head and is in the hands of her mother. Everyone in the salon cheers and applauds. Marita then places her daughter’s ponytail in a blue plastic bag to be shipped to Lake Worth, Fla.

Claire, a 9-year-old from Meadow Heights Elementary in San Mateo, asked her mother when she was 7 if she could donate her hair to children suffering from hair loss.

“I was shocked that she came to me and asked this,” Marita Nickison said Friday. “I’m a pediatric nurse and know all about children with alopecia, but for my daughter to want to do this was very surprising.”

Claire’s idea came when she was in first grade during a playdate. Her friend’s mother mentioned how long her hair had grown, and her friend said she should donate it to Locks of Love, a nonprofit organization that gives hairpieces to children under 18 who suffer from alopecia.

“My long hair one time needed a big brush, a medium, and a small one to untangle my hair, and it took me 10 minutes to do my hair and an hour in the shower,” Claire said. “I feel a lot better helping someone that needs hair more than I do.”

Cricket Myles, the hairdresser at Beauty World who cut Claire’s hair on Friday afternoon, has been working at the San Mateo salon for 17 years, and says she has seen about seven young kids come into the salon and donate their hair to Locks of Love.

“Most of them were teenagers and young adults in their 20s,” Myles said. “Claire’s the youngest one, and it’s nice to see that.”

Locks of Love has been running since 1998 and has helped over 2,000 children with custom-fitted hairpieces. It takes about six to 10 ponytails to make one. People can donate colored, permed, or gray hair, but not bleached hair, and the piece must be at least 10 inches long. Donors can also include photos of themselves with the gift.

According to their newsletter, Locks of Love is creating a documentary by filmmakers Simon & Goodman Picture Co. and wants to hear from donors with photos and videos. They are also putting together a book with letters and photos from children and teenagers about how they became involved and what it meant to them.

Marita Nickison was concerned that many parents and children may not know about this organization and that a simple ponytail donation can help another child’s confidence and sense of normalcy.

Claire shook her head vigorously back and forth with her new shoulder-length hair.

“I want to donate my hair again,” she said.

Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2007

A Cut for a Cause: Girl donates hair to Locks for Love

Sometimes it takes that one extra cut to help those in need. One Valley 7-year-old went that extra inch to help.

“All my beautiful hair is going to be cut off,” said Lacey Newbold.

And ready or not… 12 inches of 7-year-old Lacey’s hair was cut off for a good cause.

“It’s all gone,” she said.

It was Lacey’s choice to take a cut to help someone else.

“For Locks of Love. Because it’s for people that are bald,” said Lacey.

“She wanted to cut her hair for the children with cancer that don’t have hair because of the chemotherapy and it’s been her choice,” said Belinda Newbold, Lacey’s mother.

It was a choice that’s inspired by a friend’s battle with cancer. And it is only the second time Lacey has cut her hair in her lifetime.

“She chose to have her hair cut for Locks of Love because Lori’s going to eventually going to lose her hair,” her mother said.

Lacey’s mother agrees with that choice.

“Very proud,” she said.

Thursday, Aug. 16, 2007

8 Years And 12 Inches To Go

Hannah Maggiore at Coral Springs is eight years old and with a sense of purpose. She’s cutting off 12 inches of blonde hair for those who need it more than she: children suffering from illness.

At six, she gave up 14 inches. At a hair salon on Tuesday in Broward, the little girl is doing it again, helping children regain their confidence especially to those who lost their hair due cancer.

The donation of hair is going to an organization called “Locks of Love”, a well-established nonprofit organization dedicated to gathering donated hair for children’s wigs.

This group provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children across the U.S. who suffer from long-term medical hair loss. These children receive custom-made and fitted wigs made from donated human hair for free or on a sliding scale based on need.

Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2007

Looking lovely for Locks of Love

Pocono Mountain East High School raised money over three weeks for Locks of Love, which creates wigs for ill children at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. In addition to the money, some students donated 10-inch clumps of their own hair for the wigs.

Pocono Mountain East senior Monica Dilger won the opportunity to donate her hair by raising the most amount of money over three weeks with her teammate, physical education teacher Tom Rowan.

Seniors Melissa Altemose, Hannah Eckles, Erin Snyder and Shaina Brenna also donated hair. The hair will eventually be made into wigs and given to ill children at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Monday, Aug. 13, 2007

Preschooler donates hair to others

Four-year-old Kenlie Parks-Walburn hopped into a barber chair at the Touch of Class salon Thursday morning, eager for a haircut.

Kenlie had her first haircut on her first birthday anniversary, when her grandmother trimmed her hair to the nape of her neck. Since that time, scissors have not touched Kenlie’s long tresses.

Recently, however, she decided she wanted to make a donation to Locks of Love. The Florida-based nonprofit organization provides hairpieces to children under the age of 18 who suffer from hair loss caused by medical conditions, such as cancer, serious burns, alopecia areata, ectodermal dysplasia and other diseases.

“I’m going to give it to a little girl who doesn’t have no hair,” Kenlie said as she waited for the trim to begin.

With 27 inches of thick blonde mane flowing from the crown of Kenlie’s head to the tips of her hair, the child had plenty of hair to spare.

“You helped a good cause,” cosmetologist Lindsay Kehres told her, after cutting off a 12-inch pony tail. Kenlie still had enough hair to reach the middle of her back.

Kenlie has had a headful of hair since the day she was born, according to her mother, Paula Parks.

“It was black and stood up two inches tall,” said Paula Parks. “She had the Don King look.”

Parks worried that her daughter would regret her decision when the cutting was over. To Kenlie, the hair had become something of a toy, or at least an accessory to playtime personae.

“It’s her ‘princess’ hair,” Parks said. “In the bathtub, it’s her mermaid hair.”

Parks needn’t have worried.

As Kehres finished trimming Kenlie’s haircut into a smooth style that fell over her shoulders, the girl watched in the mirror. She smiled.

“I love it,” Kenlie said.

Kenlie’s pony tail will be combined with others to make vacuum-fitted child-sized hairpieces. Because only the longest hairs in the pony tails are used, six to 10 pony tails are needed to make one hairpiece, which takes about four months to produce.

Donated hair must be 10 inches or longer, clean and dry, bundled in a pony tail or braid, and free from chemical damage.

Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2007

Six-year old girl donates hair

Six-year-old Kristen Shrum recently donated her hair to Locks of Love at Great Clips in Jackson.

Kristen is the daughter of Chris and Sherri Shrum. Stylist Kim Rollet cut her hair for the donation.

Locks of Love is a not-for-profit organization that uses donated hair to create the highest quality hair prosthetics for financially disadvantaged children younger than 18 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 prostheses provided by Locks of Love helps restore children’s self-esteem and confidence, enabling them to face the world and their peers.

Hair donations can be processed by salons or by the donor.

The majority of hair donated comes from children who wish to help other children. But donations from men and women, young and old, all colors and races, are needed. Hair may be colored or permed, but not bleached or chemically damaged (if unsure, ask a stylist). Hair swept off the floor is not usable.

Hair cut years ago is usable if it has been stored in a ponytail or braid.

Hair does not have to be cut by a professional as long as the above guidelines are followed.

Wednesday, Jul. 11, 2007

Girl lends locks out of love

When Hayden Gump sees his cousin, Michaela Saxon, his eyes light up, his mother said.

Hayden, 3, was born with cerebral palsy. But last year, shortly before Thanksgiving, his parents were dealt another devastating blow: their son also has a rare form of leukemia. The family has struggled with the news, and Michaela’s grandmother, Karen McCall, said she has talked with doctor after doctor about Hayden’s condition.

“Nobody can tell us anything,” Ms. McCall said.

She said most of the treatments they have learned of have been used on adults, not a patient as young as Hayden.

So in an effort to draw attention to her cousin, Michaela let her hair down one last time last week so her cousin, Rana Masters, at Pazaaz on S.C. 28 Bypass, could cut it off for Locks of Love.

The 7-year-old girl is donating 13 inches of her blonde hair to Locks of Love in honor of Hayden, to help those like him who have lost their hair because of cancer or another illness.

“This makes me happy, because I’m giving my hair to people who don’t have hair,” Michaela said.

Hayden’s mom, Jennifer Saxon, and Ms. McCall, said the girl’s outpouring of love is just the way she is.

“She’s also helping a grandmother with her Relay for Life,” Ms. McCall said. “It’s too late now, but she wants to start a Hops for Leukemia next school year as well. Anything to try to get some attention to Hayden.”

Michaela has watched Hayden struggle through his illness, Ms. Saxon said. Now, she has an opportunity to play a part, no matter how small, in his recovery.

“She’ll come and stay with us and help us out,” Ms. Saxon said. “She has a lot of love to give, and she has a really big heart.”

Wednesday, Jul. 4, 2007

In sharing their locks, children discover lots of love

After Katie Norton donated her ponytail to charity, she tried to get two other Girl Scouts to do likewise.

“Do it, please?” she begged Megan, her 12-year-old sister, and Phoebe Pearson, Megan’s 13-year-old friend.

Megan and Phoebe had not planned on getting their locks trimmed at Monday’s hair-cutting event to remember a 10-year-old girl who had a big heart. But 100 or so other people attended the event for that very purpose.

Their hair was tied in a ponytail, measured to a 6- or 10-inch length, and snipped. The ponytail went into a bag. Then, stylists from the Taylor Brooks Salon and Spa in Alpharetta worked their magic on the hair left intact.

On Monday, dozens turned out for “Chops for Locks — Remembering Erica 2007,” a six-hour event held at Grace Fellowship Church in Snellville.

Last summer, Erica Paige Whitney of Lilburn was killed in a car crash just south of Augusta. The rising fifth-grader at Mountain Park Elementary was returning home from Myrtle Beach, S.C., with her family.

Erica had a favorite charity: Locks of Love, a Florida-based nonprofit that provides hairpieces and wigs to kids who lose their hair because of medical conditions such as cancer. She had donated her own hair once and had plans to do so again.

So the family hosted Monday’s hair-cutting affair to honor Erica and to benefit the nonprofit. Wendy Stoner, Erica’s mom, and Erica’s siblings, Emma Stoner, 3, and Gracie Whitney, 7, were the first customers at this inaugural event.

“When school lets out, it’s going to be crazy,” Stoner predicted early Monday. “Lots of kids.”

When it comes to hair, Erica’s father, Rodney Whitney, is as slick as an onion. He kept busy stocking snacks and beverages made available for the donors.

“It’s rough,” Whitney told me. “My way of dealing with it is to think of all the great memories, the 10 great years we had together, all the great things we did. She taught me things. I taught her things. She made me a better person.”

Erica would have turned 11 last Thursday. The family held a celebration by her graveside at Floral Hills Memorial Gardens off Lawrenceville Highway. They shared a cookie cake.

Dad and the girls sang a line from a skit they saw on “That’s So Raven,” a Disney show.

“Do you like your turkey fried?”

It’s a line they often sang with Erica. She liked putting on a show, playing recreational sports and participating in the Girl Scouts. A flier was circulated within the Girl Scouts’ family to let scouts like Katie Norton know about Monday’s event.

Katie’s hair grows about an inch a month, so she’ll be able to donate again about this time next year. She probably will.

“If I had cancer, I would want a wig,” she told me.

Before I left the church, Katie’s sister, Megan, and her friend, Phoebe, approached Katie.

“We talked about it,” Megan announced. “We’re going to do it.”

And they did.

Monday, Jul. 2, 2007

Students show they care

A sea of girls and women in green T-shirts filled Seton High School’s gym Monday.

As the crowd counted down the last 10 seconds on a scoreboard, the girls seated in rows on the floor bowed their heads. Other volunteers stood behind them with scissors at the ready.

A few girls wiped away tears as their hair – at least 8 inches long – was cut and captured in plastic bags and placed in laundry baskets.

Their shorn hair then was styled by volunteer stylists stationed throughout the school.

About 200 Seton High School students cut their hair in support of a national campaign to help make free wigs for women undergoing cancer treatment.

The students – about one-third of the student body – staff, alumni and friends are donating their ponytails in the largest cutting moment in the history of the Pantene Beautiful Lengths campaign.

The most in-demand stylist was Tippi Shorter, a Pantene “celebrity” stylist who has cut singer Beyonce’s hair. Lucky girls with a golden ticket sat in her chair, including Charlotte Otto’s granddaughter, Jessica Perkins, who is 6. Otto is a Procter & Gamble executive; Pantene is a P&G product.

Melissa Casagrande, 18, a senior from Price Hill, jumped up and down when she found a golden ticket in her bag, guaranteeing her a spot in Shorter’s chair.

“I’m excited,” said Casagrande, who two years ago donated her dark brown hair to Locks of Love, a similar charity that contributes to wigs for young cancer patients. “I wasn’t planning on it at first, but I decided to do it again. … This was a lot different because I got to do it with my school.”

Since last July, the Beautiful Lengths effort has made 14,000 hair donations.

Seton’s classes were suspended for the day, as stylists used hallways and classrooms as makeshift salons. A Mass was celebrated in support of cancer survivors.

Created in partnership with the Entertainment Industry Foundation, Pantene Beautiful Lengths encourages people to grow, cut and donate their healthy hair to make free wigs for women who have lost their hair to cancer treatment.

According to event sponsors, studies by the American Cancer Society have revealed that 58 percent of women consider hair loss the worst side effect when undergoing chemotherapy; 8 percent risk avoiding potentially life-saving treatment altogether because of their fear of hair loss.

Hair donations are made into wigs by campaign partner HairUWear, which produces real-hair wigs and extensions. The finished wigs are distributed at no cost to cancer patients through the American Cancer Society.

Thursday, Jun. 7, 2007

Sixth grade student cuts long locks for children in need

Destiny Foister, a sixth-grader at Sevierville Middle School, just wants to lend a helping hand.

With her mother, classmates and teachers looking on, Destiny had her long, brown hair cut to shoulder length to benefit Locks of Love, a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to children under age 18 suffering from long-term medical hair loss.

The donated hair is used to create hair prosthetics. Most of the children helped by the organization have lost their hair due to a rare medical condition called alopecia areata, which has no known cause or cure. The hair helps restore self-esteem and confidence.

According to the Locks of Love Web site, its mission statement is to “return a sense of self, confidence and normalcy to children suffering from hair loss by utilizing donated ponytails to provide the highest quality hair prosthetics to financially disadvantaged children. The children receive hair prostheses free of charge or on a sliding scale, based on financial need.”

“I just wanted to help other kids,” Destiny said, minutes before getting a haircut from her teacher, Kim Graybeal.

“I’m excited. I’m tired of brushing that long hair,” her mother, Christy Gibson, said with a laugh. “She decided she wanted to do it. Her little sister is actually going to grow her hair out long and do it, too.”

Graybeal, who teaches sixth-grade math, praised Destiny for her actions.

“It makes me very proud of her, that she would step out in her community and lend a helping hand,” she said. “She actually received our citizenship award today.”

Wednesday, Jun. 6, 2007

Girls give up their hair for Locks of Love

YOUNG GIRLS ALL OVER SAN RAMON are cutting their hair. They’re not just getting ready for the onslaught of warm summer weather, but they are making an important contribution at the same time.

Isabella Book, a third-grader at Bollinger Canyon Elementary School, could just about sit on her hair and knew the time was right for a hair cut. She donated 121/2 inches of her hair to Locks of Love, an organization that makes wigs for children who have lost their hair from cancer treatments and other medical conditions.

Isabella was joined by fourth-grader Ariana Gabrielson and Ariana’s mom, Maria, who together donated 20 inches of hair. The Gabrielsons donated their hair in memory of Maria’s sister, who died of cancer a few years ago.

The haircuts were performed by Becky Nardi, a Bollinger Canyon School parent, while teachers, Brownie Troop 142, family members and friends cheered them on.

Meanwhile, at last weekend’s Carnival at Walt Disney Elementary School, several young children donated their hair to Locks of Love and sacrificed their pigtails, braids and ponytails. The haircuts were donated by the Image Salon of Pleasanton.

“I’ve been growing out my hair for two years to donate to Locks of Love,” said Haley Cordoba, 7. “I know that kids have diseases so they don’t have hair and have to wear wigs,” she added. “I want them to have my hair.”

Tuesday, Jun. 5, 2007

With one quick snip, girl donates hair to worthy cause

Alyssa Kozak will be saving her parents Bonnie and Rex some money on shampoo this summer.

The will-be seventh grader had her long blonde locks lopped off Monday morning for the American Cancer Society’s Locks of Love charity.

The 12-year-old had not had a significant hair cut in eight years, she said, although she tried to remain calm beforehand.

In the end, what needed to be 10 inches of donated hair, per the Locks of Love rules, Kozak gave 11 inches.

For Kozak, the most difficult part of the process was deciding bangs, or no bangs.

“I’m fine with this. It just makes less work for me,” said Bonnie, who accompanied her daughter to Tropical Tans Salon in Marshalltown.

Bonnie said she planned to send a letter with the hair, hoping for a reply detailing how the Locks of Love process works.

Hair stylist Tammy Mohon said in her four years at the salon this cut was one of few she has had the privilege to take part in.

“People just don’t want to cut off all their hair,” she joked.

Kozak’s inspiration came from the fund raising and preparations the Main Street Dance Academy — of which she is a member — has been putting forth for this month’s Relay for Life.

When it was all over, Kozak’s eight years of growth left her as much hair as she wanted — just below her ears.

Kozak agreed the new do will be nice this summer at the aquatic center.

Thursday, May. 10, 2007

Girl has hair to spare for ailing children

Thanks to a kindergartner from Hartland Township, the fight against disease is going to be a little easier for some kids.

Lauren Smith, 6, recently made her second donation to Locks of Love, a nonprofit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis.

According to her mother, Kathy Smith, Lauren first became aware of the Locks of Love program around Christmas of 2005.

“Lauren’s hair was so long back then that she could sit on it,” Kathy Smith said. “I work at Hurley Hospital in Flint, and my specialty is working with children. Lauren had always been asking about the kids at the hospital, and that’s when I told her about Locks of Love.”

When Lauren found out that she could donate her hair to help make a hairpiece for a child suffering from cancer or some other disease, she jumped at the chance.

“I thought it would be a good way to make little girls happy,” said Lauren, who attends Round Elementary School in Hartland Township.

The hair has to be at least 10 inches long to donate to Locks of Love, and Lauren had more than enough to send in.

“You mail it to them in Florida,” Kathy Smith said. “A little while later, Lauren got a really nice card and a thank-you letter.”

Her mother said that Lauren got such a good feeling from making her first donation to Locks of Love that she decided to make another one. Lauren spent all of 2006 and early 2007 letting her hair grow out, and by March of this year, it was long enough.

“Her birthday was on March 7, and by then, she had another 111/2 inches to donate,” Kathy Smith said. “So she got it cut off again.”

Lauren’s hair is growing once again, and her mom said she’s hoping to inspire other students at her school to consider making donations, too.

“It’s just a wonderful program,” Kathy Smith said.

Thursday, May. 3, 2007

Locks of Love: cut for a cause

Sarah Hollnagel’s long, blonde hair was cut for only the second time in her life. And although her hair is 12 inches shorter, the cut was a worthy cause.

Six-year-old Hollnagel was one of 43 people who participated at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh for Locks of Love, an event held annually to collect hair donations that are used to provide wigs for financially disadvantaged children who live with medical hair loss.

Hollnagel’s mother, Sandy Hollnagel, said her daughter is used to the chop. In fact, her first hair cut at the age of 4 was also a benefit to Locks of Love.

“We had so much to cut off, we figured, ‘Why waste it?’” Sandy Hollnagel said. “Why not let someone else benefit?”

The 12 inches collected from Hollnagel added to the over 500 inches collected during Wednesday’s event, said Katelyn Gehrking, assistant director of Titan Volunteers, which organized the event. By the end of the day, 43 people donated 547 inches of hair.

“The most we cut off today was about 20 inches,” Gehrking said.

Tara LeQue, stylist from the Fond du Lac salon, 2 Fabulous, said once the hair is cut and collected, it’s shipped to Florida, where it undergoes several processes before it can be used for wigs.

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