By TONY EIERDAM
When Mineral Wells resident Cindy Rollins got her hair cut five years ago for the "Locks of Life" program, her then 5-year-old daughter, Katy Beth, inquired as to why her mother was sending the lock of hair through the mail.
When Katy Beth heard of the reason, she also wanted to be involved.
"When I explained thoroughly to Katy Beth what I was doing – and showed her the Locks of Love Web site – she immediately responded with 'I want to donate my hair, too,'" Rollins said. "I told her when her hair grew long enough that she could. She would grab a ruler about once a week and measure her hair in anticipation of getting it cut and donated. I am so proud of her."
Locks of Love is a public, non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under age 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis.
The program meets a unique need for children by using donated hair to create the highest quality hair prosthetics. 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 the program provides helps to restore their self-esteem and their confidence, enabling them to face the world and their peers.
Rollins said her daughter understood completely about the program and why the hair was needed.
"We have had people in our family with cancer, so she also understands that," Rollins said.
Not only did Katy Beth understand, but she continues to this day to get her hair cut for Locks of Love. This summer, Katy Beth had her hair cut and donated for the fifth year in a row. Rita Wade from the Studio 107 salon has cut Katy Beth's hair on all five occasions.
"She gets pretty excited when it is time to cut her hair," Rollins said.
"She has been doing this every summer... She makes me very proud."
Persons wanting to participate in the program can access www.locksoflove.org.
Guidelines for acceptable donation:
• 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. If the hair was bleached years ago and has completely grown out, it is fine to donate.
• 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.
• Locks of Love cannot accept dreadlocks. The manufacturer is not able to use them in our children’s hairpieces. They 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.
• Ten inches measured tip-to-tip is the minimum length needed for a hairpiece.
• 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.
Financial donations are also accepted. Access the Web site for more information.