Mt. Vernon Register-News

Local

January 13, 2009

Locks of Love

By KANDACE MCCOY

kandace.mccoy@register-news.com

MT. VERNON — Even though having long hair isn’t an uncommon trait in his family, Ashley resident Jake Bowen recently decided he needed a change. For the past four years, Bowen has let his hair grow long and on Monday donated approximately 17 inches of his hair to Locks of Love.

Bowen, 24, said he used to have long hair as a child, and it wasn’t until he was in the eighth grade when he had his long locks cut off. Later, at the age of 20, Bowen decided to let his hair grow out again until Monday when he made an appointment at Hair by Abinee to not only get a haircut, but to donate his hair to Locks of Love.

“If I’m going to cut if off,” he said of his decision, “[my hair] might as well go to benefit [a child]. I’m lucky enough to have thick hair and some kid might as well benefit from it. I can’t imagine an unfortunate situation.”

According to information from its Web site, Locks of Love, which is based in Florida, is a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under the age of 18 who are suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis.

“We meet a unique need for children by using donated hair to create the highest quality hair prosthetics,” Locks of Love states. “Most of the children helped by Locks of Love have lost their hair due to a medical condition called alopecia areata, which has no known cause or cure. The prostheses we provide help to restore their self-esteem and their confidence, enabling them to face the world and their peers.”

Hair by Abinee co-owner Shawnee Heltsley says Bowen is the second gentleman within the last five donations recently at the salon to donate hair to Locks of Love. Once enough hair is collected, it is sent to the organization to make hair protheses. Currently, Hair by Abinee has collected hair from nearly a dozen customers, each averaging between 10 to 15 inches.

Bowen said his family has been supportive of his decision to donate his hair.

“My dad never wanted me to cut it before, but now that I’m older [my family] has been very supportive,” he said.

For more information about donating hair to Locks of Love, contact a hair stylist, or visit the organization’s Web site at http://locksoflove.org.

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