By Mehvish Quraishy
What comes to mind when you think of Valentine’s Day? Roses? Chocolate? Teddy bears? How about locks of hair?
That last suggestion might throw you off if you haven’t heard of Locks of Love. It’s a nonprofit organization that creates wigs for children with medical hair loss through processed hair that has been donated.
We’ve all suffered from a “bad hair” day, but have you ever thought about a “no hair” life? This would take a serious toll on your self-esteem, and millions of children experience this on a daily basis, which is why Locks of Love has stepped in to make a difference.
Although the organization is devoted to helping children with any form of medical hair loss, most of the hair recipients are children who live with alopecia, which is an auto-immune disorder that causes hair follicles to shut down. It affects over four million people in the U.S. alone and currently has no cure. Other than alopecia, the Locks of Love children are victims of cancer treatments and severe burns.
To put it simply, the organization makes it possible for thousands of warm-hearted people all over the U.S. to easily donate their hair to these children. It’s pretty obvious that donating hair to Locks of Love won’t exactly cure children of their medical conditions, so why donate in the first place?
As young girls, the Locks of Love recipients deal with the fact that hair is an integral part of their personality. Without hair, these children can be quite self-conscious. If giving up some hair will help reduce these insecurities, then why not give these children the opportunity to live with confidence?
As news of Locks of Love spreads from salon to salon, churches and schools are also catching the “love bug” and participating in this gift of giving.Felix Varela Senior High is one school that organized a school-wide Locks of Love “Cut-Off Day.” As the event coordinator of this event, I can tell you it involved three months of intense paperwork and tedious organization, but I realized it was worth it when I saw how willingly my peers opened their hearts and gave so generously.
This community service project collected over 300 inches of hair. My only regret was that the event failed to entice male volunteers, which may be because Locks of Love has a length requirement. Donated hair must be a minimum of 10 inches in length and free from bleach or highlights. Keep this in mind the next time you visit your salon for a haircut.
Reflecting upon the “Cut-Off Day” and the efforts of Locks of Love, I’ve come to realize that my bad hair days are now less traumatic than I originally perceived them to be. It was truly rewarding to work with Locks of Love, and I think that with Valentine’s Day here, we should all consider this random act of kindness. Think about that when you’re sifting through Hallmark cards.
For more information on how you can donate, and the requirements involved, log on to www.locksoflove.org.