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Donated hair a gift from the heart

Published on: August 6, 2014

By PENNY FLETCHER

Stylist Lauren Roberts of New Identities Salon at 10639 Big Bend Road washes Audrina Powell’s hair and prepares to give her a new style. Audrina donated her shorn hair to Locks of Love, an organization that provides wigs for children and adults who have lost their hair due to medical treatments such as chemotherapy. Penny Fletcher photo.

Stylist Lauren Roberts of New Identities Salon at 10639 Big Bend Road washes Audrina Powell’s hair and prepares to give her a new style. Audrina donated her shorn hair to Locks of Love, an organization that provides wigs for children and adults who have lost their hair due to medical treatments such as chemotherapy. Penny Fletcher photo.

Somewhere a child with a medical condition or treatment that has caused hair loss will be getting a lift because of the gift of a six-year-old Ruskin girl.

Audrina Powell understands more about cancer and the treatments that accompany it than most children her age. Her grandmother is on a program of “chemo for life” during which she has lost her  hair several times.

“When Audrina’s Aunt Debbie came to visit us, she brought up Locks of Love,” said the child’s mother, Stefanie Powell. She said Audrina’s hair “was down to her waist and I was trying to figure out a way to keep it manageable anyway.”

Stefanie thought it was a good idea from the beginning. She says it is important to teach children about giving to others, and the earlier that happens, the better. Besides her daughter, Stefanie also has a five-year-old son, Brandon.

Monday, July 14, the family entered New Identities Salon at 10639 Big Bend Road (in the plaza just off U.S. 301 with Winn-Dixie).

They were met by stylist Lauren Roberts, who put Audrina at ease and told her what a good thing she was doing. “Aunt” Debbie and Mom Stefanie were also there as 12 inches of Audrina’s hair was cut off, still leaving enough to style nicely just about shoulder length.

New Identities and many other shops offer free haircuts to anyone donating hair to Locks of Love, a nonprofit charity based in West Palm Beach that operates throughout the United States and in Canada.

Donations of hair must be in the form of a ponytail or braid in order for the wigs to be custom-made for each child.

Locks of Love does not discriminate, no matter what the cause of the hair loss. Its mission statement says “it will accept donations of hair and money to make wigs for both Canadian and American children who have lost their hair.”

Donors must have at least 10 inches of hair from tip to tip to donate. Layered hair may be donated as long as the longest layer is at least 10 inches. Bleached hair may not be used because of the process used in bleaching, although colored hair may be used. Stylists familiar with Locks of Love are taught the difference.

When the cutting was completed, Audrina’s mother asked her how she felt about what she had done.

“I’m never going to do it again,” Audrina said. Then she broke out in a sly smile. “Ha ha! Just joking! I’m going to do this all the time.”

Her mother said they would return every time her hair grew another 12 inches.

Anyone interested in applying for wigs or donating hair may find out more at www.locksoflove.org/causes.html.

Hair donated to the charity should be mailed by the donor to Locks of Love, 234 Southern Blvd., West Palm Beach, FL 33405-2701. It must be placed in a plastic bag and then in a padded envelope. It is advised to take the parcel to the post office for weighing to ensure adequate postage.

Donors wishing to receive an acknowledgment for a hair donation should fill out the hair donation form from the website or write their name, e-mail and mailing address on a full size, separate sheet of paper and include inside the envelope.

Audrina Powell’s hair at full length before donating 12 inches of it to Locks of Love.

Audrina Powell’s hair at full length before donating 12 inches of it to Locks of Love.

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