Fundraiser to collect hair to make wigs for children with illnesses
If you have been putting off getting your hair cut, organizers of a Locks of Love benefit are hoping to provide a little extra incentive to cut off a few more inches for a good cause.
A Locks of Love hair-raising, or fundraising, event will be held on Sunday, Feb. 13, at Bradt Primary School in Rotterdam from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., so students and residents can donate their hair to the nonprofit organization to make wigs for children with hair loss related to medical reasons. Rita McGuire, a second-grade teacher at Bradt, is organizing the event for the third time and hopes to bring in as many hair donations as she can.
It is a great feeling, and it is nice to see people helping out people they don’t know, said McGuire about the fundraiser. `It is great to see so many ages can be involved to help people that they don’t even know that is the best part of it.`
Hair donations should be 10 inches from tip to tip and free from bleach. At the event, hair is bundled into a ponytail and cut above the rubber band, which then gets placed into a sealed baggie to ensure safe arrival to the organization. Colored or permed hair is acceptable, as well as gray hair.
McGuire first did the event in 2007, after one of her second grade students became interested in donating her hair to LOL, which lead to McGuire and the student donating their hair together. The first event had 60 people donating hair, and in 2009, 42 people donated their hair. McGuire said it could take up to 10 ponytails for LOL to make one wig for a child.
McGuire said she would like to do it every year, but for her that isn’t possible.
`My hair doesn’t grow that fast to do it every year,` said McGuire. `I do it every two years because that is how long it takes me to grow it again.`
The organization provides hairpieces for children under 21 years old suffering from long-term medical hair loss, which can result from various conditions besides undergoing radiation treatment for cancer. There are approximately 2 million children in the country suffering from alopecia areata, which is an autoimmune disorder causing hair follicles to stop producing hair, according to LOL. Also, if a child receives a severe burn to their scalp, permanent hair loss can occur.
`It helps children that have lost their hair due to medical disease, most often it is cancer and chemo, and they create the wigs for them and custom fit them to their head,` said McGuire.
While a wig will not cure a child of their disease or medical condition, it can provide a sense of social relief and acceptance.
`They get bullied and they get picked on for being different and it is just one way they can help lead a more normal life,` said McGuire.
To ensure donators look good after their hair is chopped off, hairstylist Lori Hyson-Zyra, of Victoria Adamo Day Spa, volunteers her skills. McGuire said students volunteer too, with older students having hair styling skills also lending a hand, while younger students help clean up. Some students donate their hair too.
`The kids are often just so proud and happy that they can help other people,` said McGuire. `It is a great feeling to watch all these kids and parents that are so proud.`
Some people even came to both previous fundraising events, and former students have returned to donate their hair once again. For some kids it is their very first hair cut, she said.
`It is great for me that something I care about does leave an impression on former students and even kids in my class,` she said.
To sign up for the fundraiser e-mail [email protected] or contact Rita McGuire at Bradt Primary School at 356-8400 with questions. For information on the event visit the Mohonasen Central School District’s