Near the end, Patty Hanley was walking around with a ruler measuring the growth of her hair. But hair grows slowly and after years of watching it, Hanley was getting impatient.
She wanted to cut it off, but in order to send it away to Locks of Love, an organization that provides natural hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children with long-term medical hair loss, she needed at least 10 useable inches.
According to the organization's Web site, a majority of all hair donated comes from children who want to help other children.
"At first, I was measuring it about once a month, but in the past year, I've gotten really impatient," Hanley said. "I've been carrying a ruler around and asking people if they want to measure it."
Hanley, who was this year's Winter Carnival queen, finally grew her hair long enough to make a donation last week.
She sat down in the chair at All About You Salon and watched in the mirror as Shana Thomas pulled it into a ponytail and cut 13 inches of hair away from her head. Thomas said she cuts hair for Locks of Love and similar programs four or five times a year.
"It was really hard to be patient in the end," Hanley said. "Shana was chopping my ponytail off; when it finally came off, my hair was kind of a mess. I just couldn't wait until it was finished."
Now 17, Hanley has been growing her hair for 2 1/2 with the intention of giving it to Locks of Love.
"I cut it really short when I was in eighth grade, and I decided to grow it out all the way and then cut it short again," Hanley said.
Her new haircut is "very short," she said. "It's boy short in the back and comes to chin length in the front. It's so different."
As with all Locks of Love donors, the organization will send her a certificate and a photo of the wig they make with her hair.
"I'm anxious to see where it goes," she said.
Hanley hasn't mailed her ponytail to Locks of Love yet. The hair is in her bedroom, along with a ponytail donated by her friend, Whitney Meister.
Meister graduated from Steamboat Springs High School at the end of the fall semester and now lives in North Carolina. She cut her hair before she left.
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