Locks of Love | Teen Ink

Locks of Love

February 18, 2009
By Nikki Chapman SILVER, Heath, Texas
Nikki Chapman SILVER, Heath, Texas
8 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Ready to refresh yourself with a new 'doo' this upcoming spring? Long, split-ended hair weighing you down all winter is ready to be cut short to keep the heat off your shoulders or to make room for a tan this summer. While at the salon getting a rockin' bob or easy-to-manage, stylish cut, why not donate to a good cause as well? As seen on television shows such as The Today Show, Oprah, and Good Morning America, or national publications like People, Seventeen, and the NY Times, Locks of Love is a public non-profit organization that accepts hair donations to create and provide hairpieces for financially disadvantaged children suffering from long-term medical hair loss. Towards the end of the nineties, Mary Coffman, a retired cardiac nurse who had a great deal of experience working for non-profit organizations, initiated and helped to develop Locks of Love into what it is today. Inspired by her and her daughter's recovery from alopecia, an auto-immune disorder that causes hair follicles to shut down, leading to mass hair loss, Coffman decided to help put an end to the trauma that comes from the insecurities of being hairless. With this mindset, she pressed onward with the organization to bring self-confidence and normalcy to people, specifically children, so they would not have to suffer emotionally from this tragic loss as she and her daughter did. From the time in which Coffman collected hair donations through the mail and kept them in storage bins in her garage to today, over 2,000 children have been helped across the United States as well as Canada, and hopefully one day that number will extend to every child that suffers from long-term hair loss.

Most wigs sold by retailers are made to fit adult heads and require tape or glue to keep them from falling off, causing burn or irritation to the scalp. These wigs usually are not age-appropriate for children and less expensive synthetic wigs tend to mat and frizz with excessive styling. To solve this problem, Locks of Love provides custom-made hair pieces for children at no expense that retailers usually charge around $3,500 to $6,000. These hair pieces are 100% made from real hair and have a vacuum seal to prevent them from falling off. This vacuum allows only the wearer of the hairpiece to remove it by breaking the seal at the temples. Now, children can do gymnastics, hang upside down on the monkey bars, or swim without worrying that their hairpiece will fall off or having the insecurity that classmates will be able to pull it off. This helps children gain back their confidence and be able to be kids once again.

With approximately 4.7 million people in the Unites States alone affected by alopecia and about 2,200 children under the age of 20 diagnosed with brain tumors every year, this organization clearly answers the prayers of many for their children to gain back normalcy and self-confidence to press onward to pursue dreams. For more information or if you want to know how you can donate, search for the Locks of Love website. Your new 'doo' may not only make it easier for you to manage this summer, but also bring hair, hope, and a smile to a child across the nation.

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