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Hunter Weiss uses her head to donate from the heart

by Lee Adams

Seven-year-old Hunter Weiss had never had much more than a trim to her long, dark brown hair since the day she was born. Its length was now well down her back and her mother suggested she get a little cut off. And when her mother told her about Locks of Love, an organization that supplies hairpieces to children with medical conditions that have resulted in hair loss, Hunter was excited about the possibility of helping.

Friday morning she ventured into Bliss and Co. Salon in High Point to have more than 10 inches cut off and donated to the Locks of Love organization. Hunter’s mother held her moments before, reassuring her and reminding her of how she’d wanted to help other children her age. Finally she was ready and took her place in a black chair that faced a large wall mirror.

Stylist Eddie Ray carefully put the girl’s hair into a ponytail and then used his scissors to cut off the length. He then straitened up the loose ends and styled her hair that now just touched her shoulders. Her mother met her in the floor to encourage her and tell her how proud she was. Hunter beamed and she took the ponytail in her hand and held it up for the camera.

The following week Hunter’s mother says Hunter is telling everyone how much she likes her hairstyle and plans to grow it back out and donate it again next year.

Linda Borum, assistant to the executive director for Locks of Love, says the decision for a child to cut off his or her hair for a donation is a big decision. So much of a young person’s identity is wrapped up in how they look, she says. But the majority of people who donate to Locks of Love are children.

‘“It really is children helping children,’” she says, confirming the same statement found at the Locks of Love website.

Locks of Love helps children 18 years of age and younger, offering free hairpieces to children of families with an income of under $100,000 per year and making case-by-case decisions for families earning over $100,000. For clients with long-term hair loss conditions, the organization provides free pieces made from 100 percent human hair that are vacuum set and cannot be pulled off the head. Children can swim, play and be a kid in these pieces without worry. Each piece is valued between $3,500 and $6,000.

For clients with short-term conditions synthetic pieces are provided. These are not vacuum set and are intended for temporary use, such as that of a patient receiving chemotherapy treatments.

The organization, which has provided hairpieces to more than 2000 children in the US and Canada since 1997, receives at least 3000 donations each week. There’s no waiting list for those who need hairpieces and that, says Borum, is the message that Locks of Love would like to get out the most.

For more information, check out the Locks of Love website for complete details: locksoflove.org. To comment on this story, e-mail Lee at lee@yesweekly.com.

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