LINK, UM’s student volunteer organization, gave students a chance to shed their winter hair for a good cause.
LINK cut students’ and faculty members’ hair under a tent on the Rock earlier this week to donate to Locks of Love, a charity organization that makes hair prostheses for children with clinical hair loss.
“I’m really nervous,” Kaz Pais said as she waited outside the tent for her appointment time. “I’ve never had short hair. But it’s to benefit children, which is always a really good cause.”
The opportunity was created last year by senior Lina Patel, who had wanted to donate hair for a long time but did not know how. Patel did some research and organized a hair drive at UM.
“When I went to the website and read about the possibility of a hair drive, I thought it would be a great thing for UM,” Patel said.
Locks of Love uses donated hair to help children ages six to 17, most of whom suffer from alopecia areata, a disease with no known cause or cure in which the child’s own white blood cells attack his or her hair follicles.
Hairpieces normally run about $3000 per piece, which is why Locks of Love gives an immense gift to children with alopecia areata.
The National Alopecia Areata Foundation website states:
“Although not life-threatening, alopecia areata is most certainly life-altering, and its sudden onset, recurrent episodes, and unpredictable course have a profound psychological impact on the lives of those disrupted by this disease.”
Because it takes fifteen ponytails of hair to make one hairpiece, donations are invaluable to the charity.
Donations must be at least ten inches long, of any color or texture hair, because young girls tend to request very long hair.
According to the official Locks of Love website, those who are likely to donate are mostly children or other young people, which makes UM a great place to have a hair drive.
The UM hair drive took donations from 20 people last year, and this year had 22 people call for appointments; many more stopped by without appointments.
“More than taking donations, the drive is about awareness,” Patel said. “You see so many people with long hair around UM. People don’t know they can donate it. The drive increases awareness to people who may want to contribute later.”
LINK hopes to run a hair drive every semester and encourages students to grow their hair out to give next time. Locks of Love also takes monetary donations and volunteers at their salons and offices.
For more information on Locks of Love, visit www.locksoflove.org.
To find out more on how to get involved, contact LINK at Link0203@hotmail.com.
Jacklyn Lisenby can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org