The Garrity sisters have new, short hairdos for the summer -- and children suffering from incurable, long-term hair loss will thank them for it.
Kellen and Amber Garrity of Oak Creek each had their hair cut off Monday to donate their ponytails to Locks of Love, a nonprofit organization that provides hairpieces for financially disadvantaged children ages 6 to 17. Kellen, 7, donated a 10-inch, straight blonde ponytail and Amber, 8, donated close to 13 inches of her light brown, wavy tresses.
"There is a minimum length limit because most of the wigs go for little girls," explained Depot Day Spa owner Susan Hart, who cut off Kellen and Amber's hair. "Little girls always dream of long hair," she said.
Donating their hair to Locks of Love was Amber's idea. She said she had been thinking about it for a couple of years, after one of her friends from Yampa Elementary School did it. Amber climbed into the beauty parlor chair first. She didn't flinch as she heard the snip of scissors clipping her ponytail at the nape of her neck. Afterward, she gave the reflection of her short, blunt bob an approving smile.
Kellen was a little more apprehensive once her mom, Clay Garrity, pulled out the ruler to show her just how short her new bob would be. But Clay said she already had shown Kellen her baby pictures to remind her "how cute it would be." Once Kellen's hair was cut short and she saw her sophisticated new 'do, her look of panic changed into an enormous smile.
"I'm proud of you. I know that was hard for you to do," Clay said to Kellen.
Custom hairpieces retail for $3,000 or more, but Locks of Love donates hairpieces and any subsequent repairs free or on a sliding scale based on the child's financial need.
It takes six to 10 donated ponytails to make a single hairpiece and more than 80 percent of the hair is donated from children who want to help other children, according to the Locks of Love Web site. The organization has produced more than 1,000 hairpieces since its inception in 1997.
To donate to Locks of Love, hair it must be at least 10 inches long. It must be clean, dry and bundled in a ponytail or braid.
Hart said this was the first time she had cut anyone's hair for Locks of Love.
"I've had several people inquire about it over the years, but they've always chickened out," Hart said as she was styling Amber's new bob.
Amber quietly asked Hart why people chicken out.
"Because it takes quite a bit to cut your hair off. You've gotta be pretty brave," Hart said.