Summer is the perfect time for you to let your hair down and have fun. It’s also the perfect time to embrace change and to use all of that newfound free time to make a difference in the world.
Hair is a big deal many people, whether they want to admit it or not. It helps people feel beautiful, handsome and good-looking. It makes many women feel feminine and hair is also linked to a feeling of masculinity and attractiveness in men. We spend countless moments each day tugging and pulling at it with straighteners, curlers, sprays and creams to get it to look just right; after all it is a major aspect of our identity and appearance.
What if one day it wasn’t there anymore?
This is a reality for children all over the world, including here at home. According to the American Hair Loss Association, “children’s hair loss is responsible for approximately 3 percent of all pediatric office visits in this country.”
With proper diagnosis, children experiencing a medical condition that results in hair loss can be treated, but this is not always the case. One way to help these children is by donating hair.
Great Clips Michigan State University, located on M. A. C. Avenue requires that donors have at least 10 inches of healthy hair to donate. Hair is required to be in a ponytail or braid prior to being cut. They accept all hair colors except bleached hair, because it dissolves during the manufacturing process. Hair must be clean and completely dry before the salon sends it to the public and nonprofit organization, Locks of Love.
Locks of Love will then make your hair into a hairpiece for someone who is financially disadvantaged and lives in the United States or Canada. The hairpiece is given to someone under the age of 21 who is experiencing hair loss from a medical diagnosis.
Some of the medical diagnoses that young people are experiencing, such as alopecia areata, have no known cure. When a child receives a hairpiece, they also receive a boost of self-confidence.
Carly Fusco, a freshman at Michigan State University has donated her hair to Locks of Love three times.
“Whenever my hair would get really long I would donate it, I never cared what my hair looked like after I donated, I always just remembered that there were others who needed it more,” Fusco said.
New Style, another popular hair salon in the area and located on Trowbridge Road, also takes care of the donation process for their clients. They require that donors have at least 11 inches of hair to donate, but their nonprofit organization of choice is Wigs For Kids.
For more than 30 years, Wigs for Kids has provided hair replacement systems for children who have experienced hair loss due to their battles with cancer. Hair loss results from chemotherapy, radiation therapy and illnesses such as Alopecia and Trichotillomania. They also send these hair replacements to burn victims or children experiencing other medical issues. These hair replacement systems or wigs can cost around $1,800, since they are custom made and hand tied from human hair. Wigs For Kids is always looking for people to donate hair as well as funds. With generous funding, Wigs For Kids is able to send families who have a child suffering from hair loss a wig for no cost.
Students across MSU’s Campus enjoy giving back and helping those in need.
“I donated because people always compliment my hair and if I have extra of it that I can give to someone who needs a compliment then I will, every time,” said freshman, Elizabeth Pollack.
Reasons for donating hair vary; some people who donate have a close personal family member or friend who has been diagnosed with cancer, and donating is a great way to give back and show their support.
No matter what nonprofit donors decide to send their lovely locks to this summer, it will be a positive change in someone’s life. Once the hot summer air blows in and days begin to last much longer, remember how easy it can be to make a substantial difference in someone else’s life just by doing one simple act of kindness.
Hannah Holliday is a freshman studying journalism. She enjoys writing for The Odyssey and for HerCampus.com. She is an active member in her sorority and a die-hard sports fan. She loves food, ’90s rock music and meditating.