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Teen organizes hair donation for Locks of Love

Researchers have been looking for a cure to cancer for decades. In that search, they have looked at everything from diet, environment and genetics. While medical specialists have been looking at saving lives, a local Niskayuna teen has made it her goal to improve the quality of life for cancer sufferers. And, in an unusual twist, she is asking area residents to help out by growing their hair.

Casey Mullaney wants to team up with Niskayuna residents who are ready to grow their hair so it can be cut and sent to a national organization that makes wigs for patients going through chemotherapy.

Set for March 18 at the Niskayuna Dutch Reformed Church the event is part of Mullaney's push to earn her Gold Award, the highest honor in Girl Scouts. But it's also an effort that has special significance for a young woman who saw tragedy early in life when her father died from cancer.

I saw firsthand what people experience when I was in sixth grade and my father was going through chemotherapy, Mullaney said. "That's when I really decided to try and help other families going through the same thing. Since then I've learned about Locks of Love, a national organization based down in Florida that uses real human hair to make wigs for those who need them. And everything we get from the donation party will go straight to them."

For hair to be useful for the wigmakers, a person has to give strands that are at least 10 inches long. Measuring the precious locks can be a somewhat trying task, but instead of asking donors to measure their own hair, Mullaney has arranged to have professional hairstylists onsite who will cut and style a donor's new hairdo.

"I've never organized something like this before, and it's a pretty big project, but things seem to be coming together," said Mullaney. "We already have about 10 people who have signed up to donate and we have enough time for about 20 people, so we are nearly half way to our goal."

Those interested in donating hair should contact Mullaney in advance via her e-mail at lupin1929@aol.com.

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