Locks of Love and Children with Hair Loss are two widely recognized nonprofit organizations that specialize in providing hair for children suffering from medical hair loss. This Valentine’s Day, why not spread the love past our circle of family and friends by healing the hearts of those less fortunate than us.
The goal of both groups is to restore confidence and normalcy for children under the age of 21 who are financially disadvantaged and whose families cannot afford to pay for hair prosthetics. Before donating, however, it is important to pick the association that best satisfies your own requirements, one that you would feel comfortable giving to.
Junior Natasha Gangal donated ten inches of hair to Children with Hair Loss the week before finals. “The two biggest contenders were Locks of Love and Children with Hair Loss because those are the two with the biggest names, and I didn’t want to send my hair to a random organization,” Gangal said. “I chose against Locks of Love for the negative allegations and the fact that they only provide wigs for patients with permanent hair loss.”
Locks of Love receives the most donations out of all nonprofit organizations that collect hair for children suffering from hair loss. Early last year, however, Locks of Love was accused of losing 6.6 million dollars of donated hair. A report released by Nonprofit Investor (NPI), a group which publishes evaluations of charities, showed that in 2011 Locks of Love received enough hair to create roughly 2,080 wigs. By the end of the year it had only produced 317 hairpieces.
“Locks of Love was receiving a lot of bad publicity for selling off their donations rather than using the hair to make the wigs,” Gangal said. “My mom found Children with Hair Loss because a celebrity had donated her hair to this foundation and the more we looked into it, the more we loved the cause.”
Children with Hairloss does not charge patients for the wigs it makes, and unlike Locks of Love, it also gives the wigs to patients with temporary hair loss rather than just patients with permanent hair loss, Gangal said. Children with Hairloss also works with kids specifically, according to Gangal.
The hair donation process, for Children with Hairloss, was quite simple and professional, according to Gangal. “It was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be,” Gangal said. “Children with Hairloss has a checklist on their website of qualifications the hair meets, then you tie both ends of the hair you want to donate and cut it off. You put the hair in a ziplock bag, print out their donation form and mail it in,” Gangal said.
The donation can also be done from home, according to Gangal. The same guidelines and and steps apply outside of the salon. The hair has to be at least eight inches, clean, and dried, Gangal said. As long as the hair is in good condition, they’ll take it, according to Gangal.
Although the process of donating hair was simple, emotionally it was a difficult decision, according to Gangal. “It sounds ridiculous and materialistic, but I really do love my hair. It provides a feeling of security and having good hair days can actually make my day like I know it does for countless other people,” Gangal said. “It was funny because I hadn’t actually decided to donate until I left my house, I was still undecided! But when I got there, I had courage and asked her to cut it off,” said Gangal.
While Children with Hairloss accepts all donations, including hair that is grey or chemically treated, Locks of Love does not accept bleached hair due to a chemical reaction that occurs during the manufacturing process, according to the Locks of Love official website. Also, donations to Locks of Love must be at least ten inches.
“It’s funny how much comfort hair gives us now,” Gangal said. “I knew a little boy who had leukemia and lost the fight in 2011, and it was important that I did something for kids like him,” Gangal said.