Locks of Love is a non-profit organization that is the subject of many misconceptions. For instance, it is commonly held that Locks of Love creates wigs for children who are suffering from chemotherapy related hair loss. This is untrue. Locks of Love only creates wigs for children with long term hair loss, such as that from alopecia or scalp damage. Hair loss from chemotherapy is considered to be short term, and so these children are not eligible recipients. (I think it is important to note here that many children actually prefer synthetic wigs to human hair wigs. Synthetic wigs are much easier to maintain, which is a relevant concern where children are involved.)

In 2002, Locks of Love raised over $150,000 through the sale of hair donations. They received another $213,000 in cash donations and grants in addition to thousands of donations of hair. They provided 113 human hair wigs that year. Locks of Love does not provide all of these wigs for free, either. Based on a family's yearly income, they charge on a sliding scale.

I'm not saying that I think that children with long term hair loss should be forced to go wigless. Several years ago, I actually donated my own hair to Locks of Love. When I found out that I had been lied to about where my hair was going, I felt a little betrayed. There's an excellent chance that my hair ended up being sold to a professional wig maker to end up on a model somewhere. If I had been given the real information about Locks of Love instead of the untruths that permeate popular culture, I might have made a different decision.

If you want to help in the fight against cancer, there are plenty of other things you can do. You could sell your hair directly to a wigmaker and donate THAT money to cancer research. Volunteer at a hospital or hospice. Write to your federal representative and ask for tougher restrictions on industrial emissions and pollution to try and cut off cancer at its source. If you keep yourself informed of where your money, time, and hair is going, you can make a difference.

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