BUFFALO — A little girl’s desire to cut her hair and help others will enable a child who has lost their hair to get it back courtesy of Locks of Love.
According to its website (www.locksoflove.org), 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. We meet 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 we provide help to restore their self-esteem and their confidence, enabling them to face the world and their peers.”
The mission of Locks of Love “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.”
One of those who have donated hair to Locks of Love is Jolee Cathcart, an 8-year-old second-grade student at Buffalo Elementary School who in November had a foot of her hair cut off and donated to Locks of Love.
“She’s always had long hair down her back,” Jolee’s mother, Celeste, said. “She’s been saying she wanted to get it cut and her kindergarten teacher said if we ever cut her hair to donate it to Locks of Love.”
Celeste added that the teacher, Ann Fowler, was growing her own hair out to donate to Locks of Love when Jolee was her student.
Despite her teacher’s suggestion, Jolee said it wasn’t until her mother explained Locks of Love and what it does to her that she decided to donate her hair. Her donation, however, turned out to be longer than she or her parents had originally anticipated.
“We took her to the Grand Strands Salon in Spartanburg thinking it would be eight inches, but the lady who cut it, Karen Bright, said it had to be at least 10 inches,” Celeste said. “After Jolee talked with her she decided she wanted to have 12 inches cut off so it could be made into a wig. She decided to have that much cut off for a wig for a child because there are a lot of kids out there who don’t have hair.”
Though Jolee had wanted a foot of her hair cut off, Celeste said she and her husband, Mark, were worried about how their daughter would react once it was done.
“When they brought me her hair, when she came out I like to have died,” Celeste said. “I was really scared she was going to cry. She wanted to give it to a child in need but Mark and I knew she was going to cry. She hasn’t, she loves it and she didn’t regret it like we thought she would.”
Jolee said she told her classmates at school what she was going to do but she said they were still surprised when she came in with shorter hair.
“When I walked in they were like, ‘Oh my goodness, where’s all your hair,” Jolee said.
Celeste said they also notified Fowler of what Jolee had done.
“She was just very proud of Jolee,” Celeste said.
Jolee said she plans to keep her hair short for the time being but may grow it back out for another donation to Locks of Love.
“I’m going to keep it short for a while, but maybe if it grows back out I’ll donate it again,” Jolee said. “I wish I could see when it is made into a wig.”
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.