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Barber encourages you to let your hair grow for Locks of Love fundraiser

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Travis Patterson, owner and barber at Travis' Barbershop in Thayer, is hoping to cut a lot of hair on April 24 at his shop in Thayer during a Locks for Love fundraiser. He encourages everyone who has hair almost 10-inches in length, to let it grow until April and donate it to a child who has lost their hair. Photo by Steven Looney
Travis Patterson, owner and barber at Travis' Barbershop is asking residents to let their hair grow and for a very good cause.

On April 24, at his barbershop at 215 Chestnut Street in Thayer, Patterson will hold a Locks of Love fundraiser from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Patterson said if your hair is close to 10-inches in length, let it grow until April when you will have the opportunity to donate it to this worthwhile organization. No appointments are necessary during the fundraiser, just show up for the haircut or to donate already cut hair. Cash donations for Locks of Love will also be accepted, Patterson said. Those who don't have the hair length to donate, can come by the shop for a haircut that day for a $5 donation toward the fundraiser.

Patterson said he had previously been involved with Locks of Love at the salon where he worked in Kansas City. "I try to do as much good as I can, in any community I am in. I am involved with just about all of the different organizations here in the Thayer area," Patterson said.

According to the Locks of Love Web site guidelines for donating hair are:

* Hair that is colored or permed is acceptable.

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

* Hair that has been bleached (usually this refers to highlighted hair) is not usable. If unsure, ask your stylist. The organization is not able to accept bleached hair due to a chemical reaction that occurs during the manufacturing process. However, if the hair was bleached years ago and has completely grown out it is fine to donate.

* Hair that is swept off of the floor is not usable because it is not bundled in a ponytail or braid.

* Hair that is shaved off and not in a ponytail or braid is not usable.

* If shaving your head, first divide hair into multiple ponytails to cut off.

* Dreadlocks cannot be accepted. The manufacturer is not able to use them in children's hairpieces. Locks of Love also cannot accept wigs, falls, hair extensions or synthetic hair.

* Layered hair is acceptable if the longest layer is 10 inches.

Layered hair may be divided into multiple ponytails.

* Curly hair may be pulled straight to measure the minimum 10 inches.

* 10-inches measured tip to tip is the minimum length needed for a hairpiece.

Why is hair needed? It's to help children who have suffered hair lost for several different reasons. The Web site says, "There are several problems facing children who suffer long-term medical hair loss. Most wigs sold by retailers are made to fit adult heads, and are much too big for children to wear. They often require the use of tape or glue to keep them from falling off, and these adhesives can burn or irritate the scalp. Often, the styles of adult wigs are not age-appropriate and synthetic wigs can mat and frizz with excessive styling.

The hair prosthetics Locks of Love provides are custom-made from donated ponytails for each child's head. They retail between $3,500 to $6,000. The hairpiece forms a vacuum seal, like a suction cup, and does not require the use of tape or glue. Only the wearer of the hairpiece may remove it, by breaking the vacuum seal at the temples. Children can dismiss insecurities about classmates pulling off their hairpiece, or losing it at recess. They can swim, shower and do gymnastics -- in short, they can be kids again. Each hairpiece is made from real human hair, and arrives long, so the recipient may style it to fit their face.

Locks of Love is a not-for-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children 21 and younger with medical hair loss. These custom-fitted hair prosthetics are provided free of charge or on a sliding scale to children whose families meet the Locks of Love Board of Directors guidelines.

The organization, which began operation in 1998, strives to help all financially disadvantaged children who are living with the daily trials of medical hair loss. Thousands of bundles of donated hair arrive as a result of the Internet and word of mouth as well as publicity Locks of Love receives in newspapers, magazines and on television programs.

Donors provide the hair, volunteers open and sort the donations, and the manufacturer hand-assembles each piece, which requires approximately four to six months. Children comprise over 80 percent of the donors, making this a charity where children have the opportunity to help other children.

Monetary donations to Locks of Love are tax-deductible. They can be made during the fundraiser at Travis' Barbershop in April or mailed to, Locks of Love, 234 Southern Blvd.,West Palm Beach, FL 33405. Donated hair that is not suitable for use in children's hairpieces may be sold at fair market value to offset the cost of manufacturing.

For more information about Locks of Love, contact Travis Patterson or e-mail the organization at info@locksoflove.org.

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