My 10 year old son came home from school one day and announced he would not be getting his hair cut for a long time because he wanted to donate it to Locks of Love. I felt a rush of pride and then skepticism. This child could not stand having any hair on his head, let alone long hair! He was determined to donate hair so a child with cancer could have a hairpiece though. 16 months later, I cut off his hair so he could send it to benefit another child with cancer. Here are the steps involved with donating hair to Locks of Love.
Picture of person making donation (optional)
Be sure you want to donate hair to Locks of Love to benefit a child with cancer and make the commitment. It will take time and patience. Let family and friends know what you are doing so they can lend support when you need it. Hair can be an inconvenience when it gets long. My son had frequent low grade headaches, it got in the way during activities and he did have to pay more attention to hair care. It's undoubtably easier for a girl, or even teenaged boys, to have long hair, but my 10 year old boy was teased a lot by kids at school so he needed extra emotional support at times. Despite it being hard, he stood by his commitment to help children with cancer.
While growing hair to donate to children with cancer, do all you can to make sure you have healthy hair. Keep it clean and conditioned to prevent split ends. Follow a healthy diet and even take extra vitamins. Not only will a child with cancer benefit from your donation of healthy hair, but your body will benefit from a healthier lifestyle. Don't bleach your hair. Locks of Love can't use hair that has been bleached. Hair that has been dyed or permed can be used, even gray hair can be donated.
When you believe your hair may be getting close to the 10 extra inches required for donation, measure it. Curly hair can be pulled straight and measured. My son honestly got to the point he asked us to measure it a couple times a week! His hair is usually "buzzed", so we had to put it up in several ponytails to ensure the cut hair would be the required 10 inches in length from top to bottom.
When the day comes to cut hair, wash it and dry it thoroughly. You can either go to a stylist to cut your hair or do it at home. Put hair into a ponytail, or as many ponytails as needed if cutting hair close to the scalp. Be extremely careful when cutting close to the scalp. The ponytails must be 10 inches long. Shorter pieces of hair are seperated out and sold, so even if some of the hair is shy of 10 inches, it will still help the charity.
Once hair is cut off, place in a plastic baggie and put into a padded envelope. You can include a picture of the person making the donation (optional) and mailing information if you would like a personalized thank you from Locks of Love. There is also a thank you form available on their website, go to www.locksoflove.org.
Seal and address the envelope to:
Locks of Love
243 Southern Blvd.
West Palm Beach, Florida
Take the envelope to the post office to be mailed. Locks of Love usually responds within 90 days.
Tips & Warnings
This was an experience my son says he would repeat again. He'll just wait until high school when the chances of being teased will be less. I tell him all the time how proud I am of his commitment.
When the person planning on donating experiences frustration, support them by reminding them why they are doing this. A child with cancer will appreciate the donation more than the person making the donation can imagine.