Some medical conditions leave no sign of their presence. High blood pressure? Diabetes? No one would know your affliction unless you told them about it.
Alopecia Areata? People know you have it immediately! Alopecia causes the body’s immune system to attack and kill hair follicles causing baldness. There is no known cause or cure.
Some are diagnosed as early as 6 months old. For others, the condition may appear later in life. Regardless of when the condition starts, a person is forced to live with its consequences throughout their lifetime. No eyebrows. No eyelashes. No hair on their head. Ever.
Imagine being a 5-year old girl going to your first day of school and you’re bald? One group is working tirelessly to help!
Locks of Love is a public, non-profit organization that provides vacuum-fitted hairpieces to children suffering long-term hair loss, not just from Alopecia. Some of their prosthetic recipients have suffered from severe burns, injury or endured long-lasting radiation treatments.
Wigs are expensive. Locks of Love ensures that every child suffering with hair loss, regardless of his or her financial situation, has access to a wig.
Locks of Love uses only donated human hair to create the highest quality hair prosthetics. These prostheses help restore self-esteem and confidence in children, allowing them to face their peers and the world. Hairpieces are provided every 18 months to children 6 to 21 years old for a total of ten hairpieces. This way, as the child grows and changes, so does their hair! The vacuum fitted hairpieces they create are designed exclusively for children who have experienced a total loss of scalp hair. The high-quality hairpieces never require the use of tape or glue.
Each hairpiece created requires between six and ten ponytails of donated human hair at least ten inches in length. Any length of ten inches or more is accepted with no maximum length you can donate.
Hair cut years earlier can still be donated, as long as it was cut off and is still bundled as a ponytail at least ten inches in length. Hair is needed and accepted from men, women, old, young and of all races.
It’s a charity for children by children it seems. Locks of Love estimates that 80% of the hair donors are children.
On August 3, the group will hold their 15th annual Locks of Love Cut-A-Thon from noon until 5 p.m. at Lakeside Mall’s Center Court. This is their only monetary fundraising event of the year. The group offers haircuts for $15 dollars and sells t-shirts. Hair and monetary donations are accepted year round.
Laurie Reed Sadenga knows about children afflicted with Alopecia – her daughter Allie was diagnosed at three months old. Allie lost all her hair shortly after her first birthday.
“We first became aware of Locks of Love when Allie was three years old,” she says. “We began volunteering with the organization the very next year and have been doing so for the past 4 years. Anyone can come and get a back to school haircut at Lakeside Mall,” she says.
“You don’t have to have ten inches of hair to come and support us on August 3rd,” she added. “This really is a monetary fundraiser. Donated hair is a plus!”
Laurie understands the importance of volunteering. She also understands the importance children feel in belonging and being accepted by their peers.
“It means a lot for a kid with medical hair loss to meet others experiencing the same thing,” she says. “They don’t feel so alone.”
The group serves all children in south Louisiana as well as a good chunk of the Gulf South.
“We service kids from Bayou Lafourche and want to reach out to kids in the smaller communities that might not know about us,” she says.
To learn more about hair and monetary donations, or to volunteer, you can visit the organizations website, www.locksoflove.com, or call Leslie Fountain with the New Orleans Chapter at 504-491-0342.
5 year old Mylie Mejia recently donated her hair to the Locks of Love organization.
Posted on Tue, July 29, 2014
by Marc Kimball, Contributing Writer