A Healing Haircut

A Healing Haircut

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Be The Best You Can Be

A Healing Haircut

There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.

~Denis Waitley

It was about ten o’clock in the evening when I crept across the kitchen floor. My feet seemed to make a whole lot of noise. Luckily for me, Mom was on the phone, so she wouldn’t immediately send me back to bed. I had an American Girl magazine clutched to my chest, my finger marking a certain page. I waited behind a wall until Mom was off the phone before walking into the room.

“Mom,” I called softly as I walked in.

She looked at me, so I knew she was listening.

“Mom, you know how you want me to cut my hair? Well, now I want to do it, and I want to send my hair here….” I said, and I showed her the article I had read about Locks of Love.

Locks of Love is a company that takes donations of hair, makes the hair into wigs, and provides the wigs to kids who are suffering from alopecia areata or other diseases that make them lose their own hair. Locks of Love provides the wigs for free or on a sliding scale based on financial need.

Until I read the article, I had always insisted on keeping my hair long. Now I wanted to cut it short. Mom looked shocked.

“Are you sure you want to do this?” Mom asked.

“Yes, I am,” I answered seriously.

“Why?” Mom asked.

“When I read that article,” I began, “I thought of all those kids who need my hair more than I do. I knew I had to help them.”

Mom gave me a hug and told me how proud she was that I was doing this.

The next day, Mom called the number in the article for more information.

“You need ten inches of hair or more,” she informed me when she got off the phone. Mom measured my hair with a ruler. “You have twelve inches!” she told me.

Two weeks later, I went to get my hair cut. I told Jenny, the stylist, what I wanted to do.

First, she washed my hair, and then she cut it. She told one of the other stylists to put it into a bag. She gave it to me before we left.

When we got home, Mom told me to set my hair on the dining-room table to dry in the sunlight that came in from the window. It took about a week. When my hair was finally dry, Mom and I wrapped gold ribbons around it and sent it off to the address Locks of Love had given us. I had typed up a letter asking that my hair go to a burn victim. My mom had told me horror stories about when she worked in the burn unit, and I felt especially sorry for them.

I was very proud of what I did. I knew some child, probably a girl, was delighted, at least for the moment. She would be wearing a wig with curly brown hair.

A few months later, I got a thank-you card. I didn’t need it. The good feeling I got doing it was thanks enough. I learned that acts of love aren’t just hugs and kisses, but that thoughtful gestures to complete strangers are acts of love, too.

~Angela Rooker

EDITORS’ NOTE: If you’re interested in donating hair to Locks of Love, go to www.locksoflove.org for information on how to make your donation. Following are the charity’s guidelines for donation hair:

1. Ten inches minimum hair length (tip to tip). They cannot accept wigs, falls, or synthetic hair.

2. Please bundle hair in a ponytail or braid.

3. Hair needs to be clean, dry, placed in a plastic bag, then in a padded envelope.

4. They need hair from men and women, young and old, all colors and races.

5. Hair may be colored or permed, but not bleached or chemically damaged (if unsure, ask your stylist).

6. Hair swept off the floor is not usable.

7. Hair cut years ago is usable if it has been stored in a ponytail or braid.

8. Hair that is short, gray, or unsuitable for children will be separated from the ponytails and sold at fair market value to offset the cost of manufacturing.

9. You may pull curly hair straight to measure the minimum 10 inches.

10. The majority of all hair donated comes from children who wish to help other children.

11. Layered hair may be divided into multiple ponytails for donation.

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