Going the length to help kids
FRISCO – Michelle Strouse has been growing her long, blond hair for eight years. On Monday morning, the 24-year-old decided her hair would look better on someone else, so she made an appointment to chop it off.
The next day, she went to the Image Shop in Frisco, and Dawn Austin pulled Strouse’s hair into a ponytail one last time. Then, Austin cut off the 17-inch tail and sent it to Kids for Wigs, a nonprofit organization that makes wigs for children who have lost their hair because of chemotherapy, burns, autoimmune disorders or other medical conditions.
“I’m terrified,” Strouse said before she put on the hairdressing cape. “I was going to bring six friends for support, but I’m over it. It’s just the initial cutting of the ponytail off.”
Keeping her hair one length allowed Strouse to sleep in until 4 a.m. every day – giving her just enough time to wash it, pull it back in a ponytail and make it to Starbucks Coffee to serve early-morning customers. But after years of going through expensive bottles of shampoo every two weeks, she was ready for a shorter cut.
Two of her friends – one man and one high school student – cut their hair to benefit children, so she knew where to send the hair she spent years growing.
To donate hair, ponytails have to be at least 10 inches long.
It takes 10-15 ponytails to make one child’s wig. First, volunteers chemically process the hair to remove the cuticle and sanitize the hair. Then, they make a mold of the child’s head, prepare a headcap from the mold and hand-tie each hair onto the cap. The wigs take 60 to 85 hours to design.
The organization donates the hairpieces to children under 18 who can’t afford the wigs, which would otherwise cost $1,500 to $3,000 or more.
Both the children and the donors seem to benefit from the sheared locks.
“I feel like you took 10 pounds off,” Strouse said to Austin right after she cut off the 17-inch ponytail.
To donate hair:
Hair must be at least 10-inches long, tied in a ponytail or braid.
Kids for Wigs does not accept colored, highlighted or permed hair. The address is 21330 Center Ridge Road, Suite C, Rocky River, Ohio, 44116.
Locks of Love accepts chemically treated hair, as long as it is not damaged. The address is 2925 10th Ave. North, Suite 102, Lake Worth, Fla., 33461.
According to Locks of Love, 80 percent of the hair donated comes from kids who want to help other kids.
Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 245 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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