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.