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Kasilof boy shears off long locks to donate to charity helping children

Lending some helping hair

Posted: Monday, August 22, 2005

 

  Taylor MacRae, 10, from Kasilof, holds up the pony tail he had cut off minutes before at Alaska's Hairlines Salon in the Peninsula Center Mall in Soldotna. MacRae was donating the hair to Locks of Love - a nonprofit organization that provides hairpieces to children suffering from long-term medicalhair loss. Photo by Joseph Robertia

Taylor MacRae, 10, from Kasilof, holds up the pony tail he had cut off minutes before at Alaska's Hairlines Salon in the Peninsula Center Mall in Soldotna. MacRae was donating the hair to Locks of Love - a nonprofit organization that provides hairpieces to children suffering from long-term medicalhair loss.

Photo by Joseph Robertia

Some parents may find it a struggle when teaching their children the life lesson that giving is better than receiving. For 10-year-old Taylor MacRae of Kasilof, that lesson was cut and dry — literally.

On Saturday, after letting his hair — that was long, straight and dark as a raven’s plumage — grow for nearly a year, the young MacRae cut his long locks for charity.

“I think it’s great. I just can’t say enough how proud we are of him,” said Taylor’s father, James MacRae.

Taylor’s hair will be donated to Locks of Love — a non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children under the age of 18 suffering from long-term medical hair loss. Founded in 1997, the Lake Worth, Fla.-based organization has helped more than 1,000 children.

Many of the children helped by Locks of Love have lost their hair due to alopecia areata — an auto-immune disorder which causes hair follicles to shut down.

Hairpieces also are provided to children suffering from burn trauma, trichotillomania — a compulsive hair-pulling disorder — and the one that hit closest to home for Taylor, cancer patients.

“He’s always been extremely giving, but he’s wanted to do this since his grandmother had cancer,” said Taylor’s mother, Dianne MacRae, explaining that Taylor’s grandmother suffered three bouts of the scourge of the medical world — colon, skin and breast cancer.

“Taylor said, ‘I could give my hair to grandma,’ but she’s comfortable with her baldness from the chemotherapy, so we suggested there were kids that might need it,” Dianne said.

To make a donation to Locks of Love, hair must be at least 10 inches in length. Taylor committed himself to letting it grow so he could make a donation, but this wasn’t at easy as he thought it would be.

“He had to condition it and have tangles brushed out — which he hated, but he learned to put up with it,” Dianne said.

Other children began to make fun as Taylor’s hair grew, but he addressed the issue early on.

“He goes to Tustumena Elementary and it’s a great school. He explained to the kids during Show and Tell why he was doing it. They accepted it and no one teased him,” Dianne said.

After many month’s growth, on Saturday at Alaska’s Hairlines Salon in the Peninsula Center Mall in Soldotna, Taylor’s day in the barber chair had come and he willing stepped up, donned the cape, had his hair pulled into a pony tail and then had it lopped off.

Sue Gill, owner of the saloon, said it takes at least six pony tail donations to make one hairpiece.

“We’ll cut the hair of people who want to help out and then save it until we have enough to send them in,” Gill said. With Taylor’s contribution, they now have enough to mail the hair donations.

“It feels a lot different, but I like it,” Taylor said while rubbing his naked neck after getting his ears lowered.

His efforts toward helping the hairless haven’t come to an end. Taylor is hoping his act will serve as a template for other children to follow.

“I would like to challenge all kids on the peninsula to grow their hair out and donate it at least once or more,” he said.



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