If you’ve been around me for the past three years you have undoubtedly seen many different hairstyles, lengths and even colors. The fun thing about hair is that you can do whatever you want with it from day to day and it completely changes who you are, the way you feel, the style of your outfit, or even the mood of your event. For me, I’ve always liked my hair long. I wouldn’t let my mom brush it without giving her a fit so there was a time when she had it cut like a boy…and I hated it. I kept it long throughout junior and high schools, into college and way beyond. A hair tie acts as a bracelet on most days and truthfully I’m not much of a girly-girl so it isn’t unusual to see it pulled back in a ponytail. I like to joke that you’re lucky I even brush my hair when I get up so it’s interesting that I enjoy my hair long. As much as I do, however, I have given it twice in the past to charity so that others might also enjoy it. I am, as my friend Kristin, would say a “hair farmer.”
There are several charities that will take hair donations in order to benefit those who have none for one reason or the other. The two times I have given have been to Locks of Love (www.locksoflove.org), which is arguably the most well-known non-profit of its kind. They serve financially disadvantaged children and adults under 21 years old suffering from any illness that either takes their hair or does not allow them to have hair. Interestingly, most people think of cancer as the reason people would acquire a hair prosthesis from LOL; in fact, the most common medical condition they serve is alopecia areata. Yep, say that five times fast.
Alopecia areata is one type of medical condition under the general name Alopecia, which is an auto-immune disorder that has no known cause or cure. Alopecia literally means loss of hair or baldness. This condition actually affects approximately 2% of the population. To use the word disease, while technically appropriate, implies that this is an illness that carries a negative connotation. I could sit here and spout off lots of facts and information to you, but you’d be bored and better served but doing the research yourself. I’ve made it easy for you right here and will tell you just to go to the website of the National Alopecia Areata Foundation. Another really cool place to learn is from a new charity that I discovered called Bows & Ballcaps (www.bowsandballcaps.com). B&B was started by an amazing girl named Hannah, who understands first what hand what it is like to live with alopecia. As you will see by reading her website and FB page (Bows & Ballcaps), this was the inspiration for her charity and desire to give to others who deal with hair loss, regardless of the cause.
The first time I saw Hannah was at a Rotary meeting where she attended with her dad. Though I didn’t meet her until much later, her infectious smile stayed with me beyond that first day. What I would like to do is bless the efforts she has started for her charity with a fundraiser of my own. There is no doubt I am going to cut my hair and I nearly did it just a few days ago, definitely frustrated with how wild it has become. To use today’s terms, it is a “hot mess!” Here’s the plan and where you come in. We are going to raise money for Hannah, and how much money we raise will lead to how much hair I cut. The concept is 1 inch for every $100 raised with an goal of $1200 (eek!). 100% of the money raised will go straight to Bows & Ballcaps. I’ve never cut 12 inches before, but if we raise it, I will cut it! I suppose we need a time limit, but I’m going to give it 30 days, at least. Hopefully we won’t need that long but I would like to hold a hair-cutting celebration on March 7 or 8. I’m really excited to share this experience with you, educate you on this common health condition, and, more importantly, promote the philanthropic efforts of Hannah. You can donate by dropping off a check or cash at my office or you can give directly to B&B. And for those of you hoping, if we raise over $1200, I am NOT shaving my head.