Losing hair for a good cause: Locks of Love

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— Anyone willing to snip his or her hair Saturday for Locks of Love will receive a free haircut.

The event, dubbed a "Hair Raiser," begins at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Center for Sports Medicine in the Central Park Plaza shopping center.

Event organizer Melissa Baumgartner said she hopes to collect more than a dozen locks of hair for the nonprofit organization that provides hairpieces to children younger than 18 suffering from long-term medical hair loss.

"I have donated my hair a couple times in the past, and I always though that there are always people in this town with long hair," she said. "And I thought I'd organize something to make this happen for a good cause."

According to the Locks of Love Web site, the organization has helped more than 2,000 children across the United States and Canada to regain their self-esteem since 1998.

Baumgartner said the wigs have a retail value ranging up to $6,000.

"Picture what it is like to have no hair at all," she said. A wig "can help someone with their self-esteem. Think about how much it impacts you when you get a haircut and then imagine what they feel when they get this gift."

Baumgartner said donated hair must be at least 10 inches in length, be bundled in a ponytail or a braid, and the hair must not be bleached.

"Hair that has been dyed or permed is OK," she said. "And hair that is between six and 10 inches will be accepted, but will not be made into wigs. They will be sold and the funds will be donated to the charity."

Volunteers are urged register in advance, but walk-ins are welcome. Baumgartner said refreshments and door prizes will be available.

"We hope everyone shows up at 10 so we can cut all the ponytails off at once," she said. "Obviously, we'll take men's hair as well."

For more information about Saturday's "Hair Raiser" contact Baumgartner at 879-7799.

- To reach Mike McCollum, call 871-4208

or e-mail mmccollum@steamboatpilot.com

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