By Emily Younker
CARTHAGE, Mo. —
For Zoe Hendricks, chopping 16 inches of hair off her head seemed to be no big deal.
She didn’t cry. Instead, she giggled as the stylist made that initial cut and continued grinning throughout the rest of the haircut.
“It feels loose,” she said, shaking her newly cut hair around her face.
Zoe, who turned 9 earlier this week, had nearly a foot and a half cut from her hair Thursday at the Mad Style Salon in Carthage. She plans to send it to Locks of Love.
Locks of Love is a nonprofit organization that gives hairpieces made of donated hair to financially disadvantaged children younger than 21 who suffer from long-term medical hair loss. Other children make up about 80 percent of the donors.
Most recipients of a Locks of Love hairpiece — each made with between six and 10 hair donations — suffer from alopecia areata, which has no known cause or cure. Some of the recipients have experienced hair loss because of radiation therapy and chemotherapy, severe burns or trauma, or various genetic conditions, according to the organization’s website.
Most of the children who receive hairpieces from Locks of Love are girls, although some boys also have benefited from the organization.
Zoe, whose blond hair had hung to her waist before Thursday’s appointment, said she has been wanting to cut her hair for a long time. She had never had a haircut before.
She only recently decided to donate her hair to another child through Locks of Love.
“I want to give them hair like the other people (have) for their gift for Christmas,” she said. “Because I have hair, and they don’t.”
Before the haircut, she and her mother, Ozrelle Hendricks, visited the salon to look through books and magazines of different hairstyles so Zoe could select what she wanted — a chin-length swing bob.
Ozrelle Hendricks, who has always had long hair herself, acknowledged before her daughter’s haircut that she was nervous for Zoe’s sake.
“But she wants it,” she said. “It’s for a good cause. I’m glad she wanted to do that. She came up with it on her own.”
Shanna Potter, the owner of the salon, said Zoe’s 16 inches of hair will be the most she has ever donated on behalf of a client.
“I’ve done Locks of Love stuff before, but not that much,” she said.
HAIR DONATED TO LOCKS OF LOVE to be used for a hairpiece must be at least 10 inches in length. Shorter hair, if donated, is sold by the organization to help offset manufacturing costs.