Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Life Issues > Children > Spotlight Non-profit: Locks of Love gives poor, sick children a reason to smile and style

Spotlight Non-profit: Locks of Love gives poor, sick children a reason to smile and style — When any family receives word that their child is diagnosed with cancer or a major illness, it’s devastating news. If that family doesn’t have health insurance or falls below the poverty line, the news can be catastrophic.

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It means that those families will be using every spare dollar to just keep their child alive and the rest of the family surviving with food on the table and a roof over their heads.

There won’t be money for any extras.

That’s where Locks of Love comes in. Locks of Love provides financially disadvantaged young people under 21, who are suffering from long-term medical hair loss, the opportunity to feel like one of the kids again.

Most of the children receiving Locks of Love are afflicted with an autoimmune disorder called alopecia areata, which basically shuts down the hair follicles. Other children are either undergoing chemo for cancer treatment or are victims of severe burns or severe skin disorders that cause permanent hair loss.
Since these are children, the traditional wigs in the marketplace just don’t work. For one thing, traditional wigs are made for adult heads and they stay on with either tape or glue, both of which irritate scalps. Not to mention, what child wants to wear a wig styled like Betty White’s hair?
Locks of Love only uses donated hair — 80 percent of the donors are children — and it has to be long enough so that the children who receive it can get some joy out of styling their new hair. Also, Locks of Love wigs aren’t held in place with glue. They form a vacuum seal on the child’s head, meaning that it can’t be blown or pulled off. The only way to release the hair is for the child to ease the vacuum seal at the temples.
Each hair piece retails between $3500-$6000. A steep amount but a small cost to pay in giving children a sense of self-confidence and the feeling that they fit in again with their classmates.
While Locks of Love depends on both financial and hair donations, they can’t take just any hair:
  1. The donated hair must be at least 10 inches (preferably 12″) in length
  2. It must be bundled in a pony tail or braid
  3. Hair must be free of bleach. Colored hair and permed is acceptable.
  4. The hair must be clean and dry, placed in a plastic bag, and mailed in a padded envelope

The number of hairpieces provided has increased significantly since Locks of Love was started in 1997. Locks of Love has recipients in all 50 states and Canada and is working towards its goal to help every financially disadvantaged child suffering from long-term hair loss.

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