Saturday, May 07, 2005


Today is Saturday, May Seventh, which is exactly one week away from the date of The Big Chop. It is also the day I reached $900! But let me start at the beginning to explain to those who haven't been following along.

I have been blessed with thick, wavy hair, which is a lovely shade of red/auburn/strawberry blonde/whatever you want to call it. It grows quickly and through the years I've been free to experiment, going from long to short to long again and short again. I can't imagine not having this flexibility and it's something that's important to me. I've always enjoyed trying new things with my hair, and since I was small enjoyed braiding it and curling it myself. Because of this, the charity Locks of Love holds a special place in my heart, and four years ago I decided to grow my hair in order to donate it.

Two months ago, I had it trimmed, discussed my options with my hair-dresser, and made an appointment for what I'm calling "The Big Chop".

Possible afters:

But I didn't feel like this was enough, and I searched for a way to do more and maybe be more public about it. When one considers donating money to Locks of Love, they have several tiers of donations much like any non-profit organization does. The top tier is "Sponsor a Child" and the amount is $1000. When I considered all of the organizations I belong to and all of the people my blog reaches I realized that if everyone just gave me a dollar I would be able to raise $1000 easily. And so I sent out e-mails to friends and family and groups I belong to, and I put the word out on my blog.

Slowly, donations trickled in. I considered that response in blogland is much denser if one offers incentive. Yarn incentive. If you give me a dollar, you'll be entered in a drawing for either some hand-dyed-long-repeat-sock yarn or perhaps some custom dyed sock yarn just for you.

This purple skein is "Grape Berry Splash" Kool-aid, and it's mine, but perhaps when your name is drawn you will choose for me to make one just like it for you or to make one in whatever flavor you choose.

I will now give a little education about Locks of Love and the hair trade in America:

1. Locks of Love helps to provide hairpieces to children whom are financially disadvantaged and have long term medical hair loss. Cancer rarely causes long term hair loss. It is much more often attributed to alopecia. The wigs are not free to the children, but the price is based on financial need, and considerably less than it would be to buy a commercially available custom wig.

2. It takes a lot of hair to make one wig. Locks of Love has a long description of the process, so I won't re-cap it here. But even with my thick hair it won't be enough to help even one child. Also, two inches of hair is lost to the wig-making process, so if you send in 10 inches of hair (the minimum required) it will go into a wig that is at most, 8 inches long. That's not very long. I'm going to send in close to 16 inches. My goal was to give someone a pony-tail. I hope it helps.

3. In general, American hair is not suitable for the commercial hair trade. Americans wash their hair, removing natural oils, continuously. Because of this, Americans have dry, brittle hair. Hair that is available commercially comes from hair grown in other countries where they don't wash their hair. Gone are the days you could buy your family Christmas presents with the money from your hair. Locks of Love does sell the hair that they are unable to use, but it isn't worth very much, and as best I can tell, goes into doll making and the like. My suspicion is that anything dyed or permed gets thrown in the trash. I figure that our hair can be used in children's wigs because they will grow out of them, and wigs don't need to be washed as often as real hair, since there is no "natural oil". Any adult that tried to use my hair in a wig would be sadly disappointed in a short amount of time; it is splitting as it is, and a wig made from it won't last forever.

So, now that you know all of that, please go to my sidebar and send me a donation. Or send it to Locks of Love yourself, and let me know, and I'll include it in my total. If you'd like to send it to me personally, e-mail me and I'll give you my address. If your company matches donations, please do that, too. For those of you whom have already donated -- Thank You, Thank You, Thank You. It means so much to me to be so close to my goal.


Vicki said...

Yeah, my hair is crap. If I don't wash it in the morning, I practically refuse to leave the house. I wish I had the ability to let it go a few days without washing, God knows it needs some natural oil, but I feel so...dirty. You've nearly adopted a child with your fundraiser! You should be proud :)