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Locks of Love

"Photo: Mary Eaton shows Lucy Burnett the long Lock of Love that moments before was part of Lucy's hair. In back, Rianna Grimm, Elisha Lance, Lena Ishii and Noelle Carty were also having their long hair cut.Joan Soltys/staff photosThe library at Langley Middle School was quiet, as libraries often are, so the sound of shears cutting through a mane of long thick hair was almost audible. A listener might also hear the indrawn breath of the young woman sitting in a library chair as she felt a new lightness around her head.Lucy Burnett was donating her healthy long hair to Locks of Love, and some child in the future would share in the bounty of her gift.Burnett was one of nine LMS girls and one mother who took part in the Locks of Love effort, begun by fellow student Katie Riggs. I heard about it on Nick News (on the cable channel Nickelodeon) and on Oprah, Riggs said. Then she checked the organization's Web site and learned about the mission of Locks of Love, which makes real hair wigs available to kids with long-term medical hair loss.Riggs decided it was a project she wanted to get involved in. Her own long hair would be cut, and friend Cecily Timmons agreed to have hers done in front of a school assembly.Cecily's hair was down to her knees. It was inspiring for others to see what she did, Riggs said. Eight more school girls decided to go for the change in hairstyle, and stylist Mary Eaton volunteered to make the cuts.It's been a fun, actually, Eaton said.Burnett said her dad was kind of upset. But I think it's a really good thing.Rianna Grimm said she was scared, but determined. Once I had my hair cut short and it was curled under and I looked like a little boy, she said. Eaton promised her that wouldn't happen, and Grimm took her turn in the salon chair.Some of the girls who were watching that day had already lost their long locks. Lena Ishii knew it was for a good cause, even though the last time her hair was cut she was in the first grade. Elisha Lanz said she was pestered a lot to join the group before finally agreeing. Even my mother kept saying, 'You should cut your hair!' Lanz said.Other girls who parted with their long hair included Becca Jaffe, Noelle Carty and Anna Gilles. Shea Buchanan was growing her hair for next year.And 6th grader Michael Bakke was so impressed by what he saw at the school assembly that he told his mother about it.I thought, I should do that, Ruth Gabrian said. I went from 10 inches of hair to an inch. But it'll grow!Ripples from the Langley Middle School Locks of Love endeavor have spread to others in the community. I told a woman I work with, and she is going to do it, Gabrian said. I also told my hairdresser, who is going to tell her clients.Debbie Barrow, local coordinator for the South Whidbey Relay for Life and a marathon walker to raise funds for the fight against cancer, is planning a Locks of Love haircutting session during the relay, which will take place June 16-17.If the community knows about it now, they'll have time to let their hair grow so we can have a great turnout in June, Barrow said.Gabrian said she was touched by the thoughtfulness and compassion of the middle school girls.It's so nice to see kids caring. More information about Locks of LoveLocks of Love is a not-for-profit organization formed for the purpose of providing hairpieces for children afflicted with medical hair loss. The custom-fitted hair prosthetics for long-term medical hair loss are given free of charge or on a sliding scale to financially disadvantaged children. The vacuum fit is designed for children who have experienced a total loss of scalp hair and does not require the use of tape or glue.Donors provide the hair, volunteers staff the office, and the manufacturer hand-assembles each piece, which requires approximately four months.Locks of Love has provided over 50 hairpieces during its first year of operation. This year, they have approximately 85 vacuum-fitted human hair prosthetics at some stage of production. Thousands of donated ponytails pour in from around the country every month. Children comprise about 75 percent of the donors, making this a charity in which children have the opportunity to help other children.Donated hair is evaluated for its usefulness according to the following guidelines:* Hair must be a minimum of 10 inches in length, clean, dry, bundled in a ponytail or braid and placed in a plastic bag * Hair is needed from men and women, young and old, all colors, and all races * Hair may be colored or permed, but not chemically damaged * Hair cut years ago is usable as long as it has been stored in a ponytail * Curly hair may be straightened to measure the minimum 10 inches. Locks of Love also accepts monetary contributions, which are tax deductible. And Albertson's Stores recently partnered with Locks of Love with its Community Partners Card. When the card is scanned at an Albertson's checkout, the store will make a financial contribution to Locks of Love. For more information about Locks of Love or to get an Albertson's CPC, call 888-896-1588; You can also write Locks of Love, 1640 S. Congress Ave., Suite 104 , Palm Springs, FL 33461; or go to the Web site, www.locksoflove.org.---------------"

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