I’m so proud of the good deed my daughter just did. She cut off 13 inches of her hair and donated it to Locks of Love, a non-profit organization founded in 1997 by Madonna Coffman, a retired cardiac nurse. When Coffman was in her twenties she developed alopecia. Fifteen years later, her 4-year old daughter also developed alopecia and lost all of her hair. Coffman said it was difficult to deal with her own hair loss, but her daughter’s loss was ten times harder. It was at this time that she quit all other charity work and took on Locks of Love as a full time volunteer.
The mission of Locks of Love is to give wigs, made from donated hair, to children suffering from hair loss and help them regain a sense of self-confidence and normalcy. The children receive hair prostheses free of charge or on a sliding scale, based on financial need. Most recipients suffer from hair loss due to alopecia, which causes the hair follicles to shut down, not only on the scalp but also on eyelashes, eyebrows and all body hair. This hair loss is permanent in most cases, and there is no known cause or cure.
It took my daughter about two and a half years to grow those thick, healthy 13 inches of wavy brown hair. This was her second donation. The first time she donated her hair was in 2006, when she was pregnant with her second daughter.
She says she donates because it’s easier for her to grow her hair than to have her arm poked with a needle to donate blood. She learned about Locks of Love from her stylist, Kristina, who donated her services both times and cut my daughter’s hair for free.
The reason the organization appealed to my daughter is that she has two daughters of her own. She feels empathy for children who have to endure baldness. The concept is also very tangible and visible for her daughters, aged six and two, to see and understand. They went to the salon to see Mama without her 13-inch ponytail. My daughter held it up for them and explained that it will be made into a wig for a little girl who can’t grow hair on her head. I know the older one understands because she has already told us: “When I turn seven, I’m going to donate my ponytail.”
My daughter said she felt excited and a bit nervous as Kristina pulled her hair into an elastic band and then lopped off her ponytail. She plans to keep donating her hair as long as she can.
And as her proud mother, I’ll keep bragging about her as long as I can!