It seems the moment after we’ve packed away our Halloween costumes and decorations the holiday season is upon us. Christmas lights and ornaments adorn storefronts starting the first week of November and slowly Christmas carols are floating through the air, trying to add merriment to the general public. Besides an excuse to deck the halls and stuff ourselves, to many, the holiday season is about giving, whether to friends, family or those in need.
Toy, clothing and food drives are in full force at this time of year, supplying a little bit of cheer to as many less fortunate families as possible. These initiatives are vital, there’s no doubt about it. But this holiday season, there’s another gift that you may be able to give to a child in need. The gift of hair.
Locks of Love is a public, not-for-profit organization that provides custom-made hair pieces to financially disadvantaged children in the U.S. and Canada. The age bracket for recipients goes from six to 21 and it’s for those suffering from long-term medical hair loss, from any diagnosis, be it cancer, alopecia or a traumatic accident. (learn more about the organization here)
LOL uses donated hair to create the highest quality hair prosthetics to give to children in need free of charge, or on a sliding scale, based on financial need. Their custom-made prosthetics are the ideal option for children because they do not require the use of tape or glue because they form a vacuum seal. Only the wearer is able to remove the wig and they can swim and shower with it in place, avoiding any shame or embarrassment that might come with it accidentally being removed. And so the child truly feels like he or she is getting her own hair, she’s able to choose the colour and length of the hair, the skin tone of the silicone base and the cut or style she wants. This process takes between four and six months and recipients may reapply for a new prosthesis every 18 months.
These prostheses are made possible through financial and actual hair donations. Each prosthesis requires between six and ten ponytails at least ten inches long, and it’s estimated that 80 per cent of all donations come from children who want to help other children.
If you want to donate your hair, there are certain guidelines that must be followed, but most salons are familiar with the organization and can help you make sure they are met. For a full list of guidelines, click here.
So this holiday season, or the next one, if you find yourself wanting to make a difference to a child in need, think about Locks of Love… all it takes is a little time, patience and care.