Male, female students donate hair to Locks of Love, help cancer patients

3/1/07 -- Kristin Hodges
Dave Hoffman's long tresses are a new look for him. His hair has been relatively short his entire life, and the decision to grow it out went beyond style appeal.

Hoffman, a sophomore in mass communications, decided to grow out his hair to donate it to
the Locks of Love organization after a family friend was diagnosed with cancer.

He said he has not cut his hair since November 2005.

"It's given me a new perspective and a way to look different," Hoffman said.

According to the Locks of Love Web site,, the organization "provides
hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children under age 18 suffering from long-term
medical hair loss from any diagnosis."

The organization asks for at least 10 inches of hair. The minimum length is required
because most recipients are females, many of whom prefer long hair.

Because there multiple lengths within each ponytail, it takes six to 10 donated ponytails to
make one hairpiece.

Through the organization, children receive hairpieces free of charge. According to the site,
if a family had to purchase a hairpiece, it would cost at least $3,500.

According to the site, anyone can cut hair as a donation to the organization.

Brenda Rowe, stylist at Great Clips, 100 E. Bluemont Ave., said the salon is registered
with the Locks of Love organization.

She said the salon provides haircuts free of charge when a customer comes in to donate
his or her hair to the organization, although there are requirements for the hair donated.

"It has to be virgin hair," she said. "It can't be color-treated or chemically processed."

Hoffman said he first heard about the program through a high-school friend who donated
her hair several times. He said he has known people who have gone through cancer
treatments and lost full heads of hair. All four of his grandparents have died from some
type of cancer.

"It's a really good program that's real easy to do," he said. "I fully support anyone that does
it, male or female."

He said this is the longest his hair has ever been, and he plans to cut and donate his hair
the first day of spring break.

"Having long hair is quite a burden," he said.

Hoffman said his new 'do hasn't kept him from doing anything he did when he had short
hair, but he does have to wear a headband to play sports.

Long hair has taught him the effort it takes to maintain a longer mane, he said.

Hoffman's friends and family have been supportive of his decision and told him it is a
noble cause, he said, although people sometimes remind him of what he looked like with
short hair.

He supports the cause, but said he doesn't see himself growing out his hair again,
because he will want to keep a professional look when entering the workplace.

Kendra Murry, freshman in horticulture, donated her hair in fall 2005 after growing it out for
five years.

"I heard about it on 'Oprah,'" she said. "So I thought 'Why not just donate to a good

She said her hair was down to her waist when her hairstylist cut 10 inches off to donate.

Although it was hard to lose 10 inches of her hair, Murry said she would do it again.

"I don't think it would be as traumatizing this time," she said. "In fact, I'm growing out my
hair again. I'll probably get sick of it, cut it and donate it again.

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