Mother, daughter donate hair for sick children

Posted: Friday, July 26, 2002

KODIAK (AP) -- Bracing herself in the salon chair, 10-year-old Calista Pruitt shrieked, ''Oh my god, my hair!'' and in one quick snip 10 inches of her chestnut locks were off.

Next up was her mom, Mindy.

''I want your hair this short, too,'' Calista said.

In just two quick snips, Mindy also said goodbye to 10 inches of hair.

The mother-daughter team walked away from the beauty salon with Grade A wig-making material for a nonprofit organization called Locks of Love.

''Back in 1998 Calista had kidney surgery, and while at the hospital in Oregon we learned about Locks of Love and the great things they do,'' said Mindy Pruitt. ''We wanted to do this together as a family project, to learn the lesson that you can help people by doing nice things.''

The Florida-based Locks of Love started in 1997 to help financially disadvantaged children with medical hair loss by providing custom-made wigs from donated hair.

Some of the child recipients are chemotherapy patients. Most suffer from alopecia areata, a disease that causes permanent hair loss. Alopecia areata affects 4 million people in the United States.

According to the Locks of Love Web site, ''The vast majority of children that approach Locks of Love for help are girls. We think that the reason for this is that it is socially acceptable for young men to have short, shaved or even no hair, but it is not socially acceptable for young ladies to have no hair.''

Helping more than 800 children since its inception, the organization is going strong.

''Everyday it seems like we get more and more mail. A year ago, we would get between 20 to 30 buckets of mail donations a day. Today we are averaging 50,'' said Cathleen Cason of Locks of Love.

''This has been a family project for two years now,'' Mindy Pruitt said.

And will they do it again? Sure, said the Pruits.

Their enthusiasm was immediately contagious.

Watching the mother and daughter, friend Hanna Kaplan, 11, was so inspired she called her mother to ask for permission and enthusiastically hopped into the salon chair for a date with the shears.


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