Bedford girl donates hair to Locks of Love; For Sarah Jacobs, 11, it was her first haircut
Bedford’s Sarah Jacobs, 11, may be feeling a bit lightheaded these days but she is happy about the condition. She recently donated her hair, which has never been substantially shorn, to Locks of Love, a non-profit organization providing hairpieces for kids with medical hair loss. Sarah came away from the haircut lighter by four braids, each some 10 inches long.
Locks of Love, based in West Palm Beach, Fla., provides hairpiece prostheses to kids with medical hair loss and negligible financial resources. The organization notes online its mission to restore a sense of normalcy and self confidence to young people with hair loss.
The haircut and subsequent styling, a shoulder-length bob rendered by stylist Kristen Lavigne, took place at Preference Styling Salon, 178 Route 101 in Bedford, on Saturday, June 14. Sarah’s mom and dad – Chris and Linda Jacobs – and Sarah’s older sister, Emma, 13, watched as Sarah’s locks were combed, clipped and braided.
Lilly Robbins, communications director for Locks of Love, said that many of the candidates for the hairpieces suffer from alopecia areata, a condition which causes hair follicles to fail at growing new hair.
Other youngsters have suffered burns. Some have lost hair due to radiation treatment for cancer. There also are a number of skin disorders that cause hair loss, including losses of the eyelashes and eyebrows. Locks of Love accommodates youth to age 21.
“We help children suffering from many kinds of medical hair loss,” Robbins said. “I’d say most of our recipients have alopecia. A lot of these are girls who are in their teen years, and it’s really important for them to be comfortable and confident.”
Robbins said all of the hairpieces are custom fitted. There is no glue and no tape. The hairpieces are matched to the contours of the recipient’s head and feature a vacuum seal, similar to a suction cup, that alleviates fears of the hairpiece dislodging during normal activities – swimming, showering, gymnastics and more.
“It takes nine to 10 braids to make one hairpiece,” Robbins said. “We get amazing pictures of girls at soccer practice and doing many other activities,” Robbins said. “A lot of wigs are made for adults. They’re not age-appropriate products and they don’t fit well.”
Sarah’s dad, Chris, said the volume of his daughter’s donated hair enabled a harvest of four braided sections, each some 10-inches long.
Chris said that while Sarah is not currently acquainted with any child that has lost hair due to cancer or some other diagnosis, she is fully supportive of the Locks of Love program.
“Sarah has been growing her hair for more than a decade,” Chris, an engineer, said. “It has always been her desire, when the time came, to donate her hair to Locks of Love. I am so proud of her.”
Sarah’s mother, Linda, a kindergarten teacher at Riddle Brook Elementary School, said she found it rewarding to know Sarah wanted to help someone by sacrificing the life-long growth of beautiful hair.
“As a teacher, I know how important it is to give back to the community,” Linda said. “Sarah’s donation will make such a significant impact on a child, and also on the child’s family.”
Linda said that Sarah and Emma long ago realized the importance of such generous gifts, for one of the girls’ grandfathers had benefited from an organ donation.
Sarah, who will be a sixth-grader at McKelvie Intermediate School, admitted being concerned about how her new haircut might look and feel.
She added that she never wavered in her desire to donate her hair to help someone in need.
“I’m really happy that I did it,” Sarah said. “It’s scary when that final minute comes and it’s almost time to cut it off. But, then it’s off and you say, ‘Wow, it’s all done. And it’s donated.”
For more information on donating to Locks of Love visit www.locksoflove.org.