When I was young, in the long-ago 1980s, Richard Simmons was one of my favorite TV personalities. He just seemed like fun– loud, but sweet and gentle, always offering up words of encouragement.
At some point in the 2000s, he hosted a show called Dream Makers, where he would offer help to someone having a rough time. One episode featured a little girl with Alopecia, a disease characterized by loss of hair. This adorable little girl, (who of course, wanted to be just like everyone else) had a wig. The wig was made for an adult-sized head, so it would slip. She couldn’t swim in it, nor could she do much to style it. But it made her feel ‘normal’… untill one day, her wig slipped off, and the parents of her classmates laughed at her.
Richard Simmons contacted a charity called Locks Of Love, who custom-made a hair prosthesis for the little girl. Hair prostheses are different from wigs, in that the prostheses attach to the scalp like a suction cup. A hair prosthesis can be worn while swimming and bathing, and can only be removed by breaking the suction at the temples…. so it does not slip of fall off accidently.
The little girl got to choose her own hairstyle and color… and when she put on her prosthesis, she transformed instantly into ‘everyone else’. The sheer joy in this child’s face because she would no longer be mocked is hard to describe. To me, hair is no big deal… but to see the true impact of hair, for someone who cannot grow any, is just amazing.
Locks of Love uses only human hair, all of it donated, to make these prostheses. They also accept financial donations to defray the $3,500+ it costs to make a hair prosthesis. No child is turned away because the family cannot afford the cost.
Here is their website:
And here I am, looking to donate nearly 8 years worth of hair…
And the after pictures-
I want to give an enormous round of applause, and a million thanks, to my friend Angie at the Paul Mitchell salon. I had no idea of a style or cut I wanted… just said ‘no bangs, and wash-and-wear’. She spent time really figuring out what my lifestyle was for my hair. Angie even had to teach me how to blow-dry my hair using a round brush (I am neither well-coordinated nor hair-savvy).
Angie also mentioned that Paul Mitchell runs fundraisers throughout the year… a great haircut for a great cause.
Just remember, something insignificant to you or I may mean all the difference in the world for someone else. Never underestimate the ways you can help another person. You don’t even have to be an adult to donate… Locks of Love estimates 80% of donated hair is from children wanting to help other children.