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Locks of Love

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Ten inches of Brooke's hair. (Brooke Orenstein/The RamPage)

Ten inches of Brooke's hair. (Brooke Orenstein/The RamPage)

Ten inches of Brooke's hair. (Brooke Orenstein/The RamPage)

Brooke Orenstein

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I have had very long hair throughout my entire childhood. When I was about six years old, I learned that many people are not as fortunate as me and are unable to grow hair due to medical hair loss. I remember feeling really upset upon learning this, and wanted to help any way I could. I asked my mother what I could do and she taught me about the organization Locks of Love.

Locks of Love is a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under the age of 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss due to a variety of diagnoses.

The organization first began by being connected with a for-profit wig retailer. In 1997, the organization accessed a nonprofit certification from the IRS. It then established a volunteer Board of Directors, and the charity began to run as an entity unto itself under its bylaws aside from the for-profit retailer.

Locks of Love is devoted to helping every child suffering from medical hair loss. They do not discriminate depending on the cause of hair loss. The rules for donating hair are not as strict as one may think.

There are requirements when donating hair. The guidelines are:

  • Hair that is colored or permed is allowed.
  • Hair is allowed (even if it was cut years ago) as long as it is kept in a ponytail or braid.
  • Hair that has been bleached (usually highlighted hair) is not able to be used. Locks of Love is not able to accept bleached hair due to a chemical reaction that occurs during the manufacturing process. Although, if the hair was bleached years ago and has completely grown out, it is able to donated.
  • Hair that is swept off of the floor is not allowed because it is not bundled in a ponytail or braid.
  • Hair that is shaved off and not in a ponytail or braid is unable to be used. If planning to shave your head, first divide the hair into multiple ponytails to cut off.
  • Locks of Love is unable to accept dreadlocks. Their manufacturer is unable to use them in the children’s hairpieces. They also do not accept wigs, hair extensions or any sort of synthetic hair.
  • Layered hair is allowed if the longest layer is 10 inches.
  • Layered hair may be divided into multiple ponytails.
  • Curly hair may be pulled straight to measure the minimum 10 inches.
  • Ten inches measured tip to tip is the minimum length needed for making a hairpiece.

Although donating hairpieces to children without hair allows for the kids to feel better, the children receive much more. They go through a loss of identity, when losing their hair. These kids can be teased by other kids or feel uncomfortable by the looks they get because of the hair loss. This causes the children to drop out of regular activities they would otherwise be participating in. Wearing the donated hairpiece allows for more comfort, confidence and the patching of their self-esteem.

I previously donated my hair when I was six. About a week ago, I donated 10 inches of my hair to the wonderful organization again. If able to, I urge all of you to donate your hair to these children who are unable to grow hair themselves.

Brooke before donating to Locks of Love. (Brooke Orenstein/The RamPage)

Brooke after donating to Locks of Love. (Brooke Orenstein/The RamPage)

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