Locks of Love Helps Kids with Medical Hair Loss
Feeling the sudden chill on his bare neck, Christopher Wimer stared down at his long locks carpeting the floor of Metamorphosis Salon and smiled sadly.
His father, Sisters resident John Wimer, looked on, capturing the moment on the family’s camera as his son cleaned up for his future, donating the outcome to a deserving national charity in the process.
The occasion for the ceremonial shearing of his tresses was for not only a vital job interview in Portland, but something even more important and rewarding – a beneficial offering to the unique Locks of Love program.
Wimer, a current Apple employee in Portland, was born in Southern California but attended Sisters Middle School and graduated from Sisters High School in 2004 before heading over the pass to find his fortune.
“I was going to cut it anyway and thought it may as well go to a good cause,” he said. “It’s much better than it ending up in the garbage. I heard about the program a couple years ago and they said as long as it’s ten inches long you can donate it and thought it was a good thing to do.”
Locks of Love is a public, non-profit organization providing hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under the age of 21 who are suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis.
Their on-going mission is to return a sense of self, confidence and normalcy to children suffering from hair loss by utilizing donated ponytails to provide the highest quality hair prosthetics. Children participating in the program receive hair prostheses free of charge or on a sliding scale, based on their financial need.
“We brought Chris in to see Tami Jones at Metamorphosis Salon after Thanksgiving and convinced him to cut his hair,” said John Wimer. “He’d been waiting to give it to a good cause and had been growing it out for two years with the idea that he would eventually donate it. On the Locks of Love form he could request that the child who gets the hair correspond with him and send him a note, which I thought is a neat part of the program.”
The initiative was started back in 1997 by Madonna Coffman, a retired cardiac nurse who had considerable volunteer experience working for not-for-profits in the West Palm Beach, Florida area.
In her 20s, Coffman developed alopecia after receiving a hepatitis vaccination. With medications, she eventually recovered, but fifteen years later, her four-year-old daughter developed the same affliction and lost all of her hair. This focused her efforts toward the organization, causing her to quit her hospital job and joined Locks of Love as a full-time volunteer inspired by her daughter’s recovery.
Locks Of Love has assisted thousands of kids over the past two decades and have happy recipients in all fifty states and Canada.
“I cut off at least five people a year for the charity,” said salon owner, Jones. “From ages 12 to 50. It’s just a real worthwhile program and the people who give up their hair feel it was for an excellent purpose. A lot of younger kids hear about it in school and get excited to participate too.”
For Christopher, the new year looks bright, not only for high hopes of a potential change in careers, but with the satisfaction that his discarded hair helped a needy child.
“It’s a great cause and I’m glad I did it,” he said. “How does it feel with all my hair cut off? It feels cold!”
For more information on Lock of Love, to apply for a child or make a cash donation, visit them online at www.locksoflove.org or call 561-833-7332.