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Monday, May 2, 2016

Locks of Love

Friday, December 28, 2001

Eight-year-old Jasmine Nehring of Albert City is losing her hair so other children can have some.

She plans to have her long locks cut next week to donate to Locks of Love, a non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children with medical hair loss.

"Jasmine's been wanting to do this since she was four years old," her mother, Rosalinda, said. "It's been her dream and she's had to wait so her hair was long enough to donate."

The Florida-based organization has helped more than 600 children since it began in 1997. Thousands of bundles of donated hair arrive from around the country for the program.

The hair is used to create custom-fitted hair prosthetics which are provided either free of charge or on a sliding scale to families who meet Locks of Love guidelines.

It's less than a week before Jasmine will have her long hair cut short. She'll see her usual stylist at Total Concept, Jill, who will cut her soon-to-be donated hair.

But Jasmine isn't nervous about losing her hair - she's happy to be able to do it.

Jasmine first got the idea after hearing about another local girl who donated her hair several years ago. A fellow member of her Girl Scout troop also recently donated her hair as well.

"It's been quite a few years since she decided she wanted to donate her hair, but she's had to wait so it would be a certain length," Rosalinda said.

Her parents, Rosalinda and Craig, are proud their daughter wants to do such a thing.

"It's nice to see her decide to do this even though she's had to wait so long," her mother said.

Most of the applicants for the hairpieces suffer from an auto-immune condition called alopecia areata, for which there is no known cause or cure.

Others have suffered severe burns, or endured radiation treatment, while some applicants have dermatological conditions that result in permanent hair loss.

"This is a tremendous program for all the unfortunate young people who are affected by loss of hair through disease and illness. My daughter was very pleased with her new hair. You can see the immediate radiance and new-found confidence," said Debbie Camacho, a mother of a hairpiece recipient.

Donated hair must be at least 10 inches in length, bundled in a pony tail or braid, and not damaged by chemical processing. It takes approximately four months for the manufacturer to assemble the hairpiece.

Locks of Love provides recipients a custom, vacuum-fitted hairpiece made from donated human hair. The vacuum fit is designed for children who have experienced a total loss of hair, and the piece does not require the use of tape or glue.

Madonna Coffman, president of the Locks of Love organization, said donations continue to pour in from across the country.

"Most donors mail a note and a photo with their bundle of hair. Children comprise over 80 percent of the donors, making this a charity where children have the opportunity to help other children," she said. "Our greatest joy is knowing that these children are able to be children again. They are back in school, participating in sports of all types, leading their classes and - most importantly - they are smiling."

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