CATEGORY: Tupelo Stories
By M. Scott Morris
Linda Carver has a new look and she hopes it makes an anonymous kid very happy.
On Wednesday, Carver walked into the salon and had a 13-inch ponytail removed.
“I put it in a bag and mailed it out,” said Carver, a resident of the Lake Piomingo area.
She donated her black tresses to Locks of Love, a nonprofit agency that provides human hair wigs for children with long-term hair loss.
“It’s for children under the age of 18 who have medical hair loss,” she said.
Human hair wigs start at $3,000 and are not covered by insurance, Carver said. Locks of Love provides wigs free of charge or on a sliding scale, depending on the family’s financial situation.
“They use all types of hair. They need it from all races and all colors,” Carver said. “The hair they can’t use, they sell and use the money to make the wigs.”
Carver first heard about the program after reading a Kansas City Star newspaper article about a teacher who donated 12 inches of her hair to Locks of Love.
“I decided I wanted to do it,” Carver said.
The decision was made easier by a childhood memory. As a teen-ager, Carver lost her hair after a bought with pneumonia.
“It was right when I started dating and my hair was falling out in clumps,” Carver said. “It’s not fun for a child.”
Under Locks of Love’s guidelines, Carver wouldn’t have qualified for a human hair wig because her hair loss was short-term. However, the agency does provide synthetic wigs for children with short-term hair loss.
It takes roughly 12 ponytails to make a human hair wig, and not just any ponytail will do.
“It has to be at least 10 inches long,” Carver said.
Her hair used to hang to her waist. Now it’s shoulder-length.
“It feels very different,” she said. “When I go to touch my hair, it’s not there. I don’t have anything to pull on anymore.”
Jane Litke, owner of Hair Benders in Tupelo, cut Carver’s hair free of charge. Litke has been styling Carver’s hair for years.
“Mrs. Carver doesn’t get her hair cut very often because she likes to wear it long,” Litke said. “To give your hair up is a pretty big thing.”
Carver said she had the full support of her husband, Dana.
“He was real positive because he knew it was going to grow back,” she said.
The last time Carver had short hair was in 1974, when she got a hairdo inspired by Dorothy Hamill. She has no plans to keep her current look.
“When it was long, I used to just put it in a French braid,” she said. “Now I have to do stuff with it, which means I have to get up earlier. I’m planning on growing it back.”
It’s a simple procedure to donate to Locks of Love as long as the hair meets these conditions:
– Hair must be a minimum of 10 inches long.
– Bundle hair in a ponytail or braid.
– It needs to be clean, dry and placed in a plastic bag for mailing.
– Hair may be colored or permed, but not chemically damaged.
– Hair swept from the floor is not usable.
– Hair cut years ago is usable as long as it has been stored in a ponytail.
– Curly hair may be straightened to measure the 10-inch minimum.
– Half of the hair donated to Locks of Love comes from children who wish to help other children.
– Hair that’s short, gray or unsuitable for children will be sold to offset the cost of manufacturing.
Mail hair or financial contributions to Locks of Love at 2400 E Las Olas Blvd; Fort Lauderdale FL 33301.
For more information, call 1-888-896-1588 or look up the agency’s www.LocksofLove.org. Web site.