HBO recently ran a special called “Locks Of Love: The Kindest Cut”. For years, I have seen pictures in my local paper of young girls smiling while holding a long lock of their recently cut off mane to be donated to this cause.
Conversely, the weekend paper that advertised the special had a picture of a young girl wearing glasses with a reserved smile and her head was completely bald. Seeing this photo moved me, so I decided to check out the “Locks of Love” website.
Locks of Love was started by a women named Madonna Coffman, a retired cardiac nurse who had developed alopecia (a form of hair loss) as young women after receiving a hepatitis vaccine. Her hair returned but years later when her four-year-old daughter developed alopecia, she felt compelled to help her daughter and other children who are suffering with this condition. Locks of Love assists children regain their self-esteem by collecting hair to be manufactured into high quality hairpieces so that the children no longer feel so different from others.
Adult wigs do not work well for children. They are too large to fit properly on their heads so require tape or glue to keep them attached to the scalp. Wigs made especially for children not only fit their heads better, they have a special vacuum design that attaches them to the scalp so only the wearer can remove them. Children can play and swim wearing the wigs without fear they will fall off. In addition, children are relieved of the concern and embarrassment that their classmates might try to pull off their wig during recess, leading to further loss of self-confidence.
Causes of hair loss in children:
● Alopecia areata is a form of hair loss that is thought to have an autoimmune component and affects 4.7 million people in the U.S. Hair loss can be in patches or occur all over the scalp. There is no known cause or cure for alopecia areata.
● Cancer: Approximately 2,200 children under the age of 20 are diagnosed with brain tumors each year and are treated with radiation or chemotherapy. Some of these children will have permanent hair loss as a result.
● Burns, accidents, hair growth abnormalities or chronic hair pulling are hair loss causes that occur less frequently.
Ms Coffman expressed that it was “10 times harder” to see her daughter go through having alopecia than it was for herself. Speaking as a mother, I think most of us would rather take on the burden of an illness ourselves if it could keep our children from suffering. Luckily for children in all 50 states and Canada who suffer with alopecia, there are others who will gladly mail their own hard grown locks to lessen the burden of these children’s hair loss.
If you or someone you know wants to donate their hair, here are some basic guidelines:
1. The donated hair must be at least 10 inches (preferably 12") in length
2. It must be bundled in a ponytail or braid
3. Hair must be free of bleach. Colored hair and permed is acceptable.
4. The hair must be clean and dry, placed in a plastic bag, and mailed in a padded envelope to:
Locks of Love
234 Southern Blvd.
West Palm Beach, FL 33405
For more specific guidelines go to:
And for more information:
Michele is an R.N. freelance writer with a special interest in women’s healthcare and quality of care issues. Other articles by Michele can be read at http://www.helium.com/users/487540/show_articles