‘And a child shall lead them’

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 2, 2006

A 10-year-old donates her hair to Locks of Love

By Deborah Goodwin

The Selma Times Journal

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That’s bad. Somebody ought to help those poor people.

How many times have you said this?

How many times have you been that “somebody”?

In today’s society, we are so programmed to the hustle and bustle of our ever-so-busy lives that we rarely stop to be that “somebody.”

We can all take a lesson from a brave little 10 year-old girl that has been planning to help someone else since she was in the first grade.

Inspired by a cousin in Jackson, Miss. who had done it before her, shy, little Mary Kay Coffee of Selma decided to grow her hair long so that she could donate it to Locks of Love.

This is a non-profit organization that provides hairpieces for financially disadvantaged children – 18 years and younger – suffering from long-term medical hair loss.

Tracy Thames, at Cuts and Curls on Selma Ave., had the honor of cutting the hair of this admirable little girl.

“She likes the idea of helping other (little girls),” said Mary Kay’s father, Donnie Coffee Jr.

Mary Kay has inspired another person to grow her hair out so that she too can donate to Locks of Love.

It is her friend, nine-year-old, Becky Delgado.

“I think other people should have hair just like me,” said Delgado.

According to the Locks of Love website the majority of hair donations come from children wanting to help other children.

” … and a little child shall lead them.” (Isaiah 11:6, KJV)

Locks of Love was started in 1997 by Madonna Coffman who lost her hair to alopecia – a disorder where hair follicles are damaged –

after receiving a hepatitis vaccination.

Coffman recovered, but 15 years later, her 4-year-old daughter was stricken with alopecia.

It was the suffering of her daughter that inspired Coffman to fully commit to Locks of Love.

Coffman’s story can be found on the Locks of Love Web site, www.locksoflove.org.

Any one can donate hair to the organization.

Your hair must be 10 inches minimum in length.

It can be colored or permed, but must not be damaged or bleached.

If your hair has been cut years ago, it is still useable as long as it has been stored in a ponytail or braid.

If you have curly hair, the hair can be pulled straight to measure the 10 inches.

You do not have to go to a hairdresser, but you may opt to do so.

“We didn’t want to butcher it up,” said Donnie Coffee Jr. of he and his wife Amy’s choice to bring Mary Kay to Cuts and Curls.

Anyone can cut your hair as long as the guidelines are followed.

The guidelines are listed in full on the website.

These special hairpieces can take between four and six months to reach the recipient. The

process requires a mold of the child’s head to be made at home and shipped to Locks of Love where a foam mold is made.

The foam mold serves as the head block for the hairpiece.

From that foam mold, a “fit cap” is made.

That cap is sent back to the child to try on.

Once the fit has been approved and skin tone color and hair length have been chosen, the hair is prepared and sent to Indonesia where the hairpieces are manufactured.

Each hair is hand inserted into the cap.

When finished, the cap will contain 150,000 strands of hair.

Even though Locks of Love provides the hairpieces free of charge, they must pay the manufacturing costs.

Each hairpiece retails between $3,500 and $6,000.