Jennifer Mize, being styled by Apryl McCullough, will immediately begin growing out her hair so she can donate to Locks for Love next year.
COVINGTON - On Wednesday morning, a group of women gathered at a hair salon in downtown Covington to have their hair chopped off so children with cancer and other diseases can feel a little better.
Physique Hair Gallery co-owner Apryl McCullough, a breast cancer survivor, knows all about the emotional toll of such a devastating diagnosis. When she decided to try to lessen that toll and bring a smile to the faces of children who are suffering hair loss, salon co-owner Marcella Moore and the other stylists were all for it.
The ladies hosted "Looks, Locks and Laughter," an event to benefit Locks for Love, which supplies hairpieces from real hair to disadvantaged children age 21 and under, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday. Before the day was done eight to 10 women were expected to have hair at least 10 inches shorter, the minimum requirement per donation. The haircuts, along with make-up, refreshments and before and after photos, were all complimentary.
Amanda Bolen, age 15 and a student at Eastside High School, was eager to participate after learning about the good cause from her stylist. Bolen's hair fell mid-back before she had it cut to shoulder-length.
"I just thought it was really cool. I wasn't going to use the hair so it might as well go to someone else who can use it," she said.
Jennifer Mize of Union Point, Ga., near Lake Oconee, grows her hair out every year specifically to donate to Locks for Love. Her auburn locks were nearly to her waist before McCullough lopped off 17 inches. Mize's mother had breast cancer and her grandmother had ovarian cancer.
"Since cancer runs in our family, I just want to do all I can," she said.
Wednesday's haircut will be the last for Mize for another year, as she will start growing it out immediately to prepare to donate again.
Melody Dobbs of Covington has lost several good friends to cancer. She had 18 inches of hair cut off and the remainder was styled into a chic bob. It took her between three and four years to grow her hair to nearly waist-length.
"I have hair and I can let it grow. People that don't have it, I feel like I can help," she said.
Fran Blackwell of Mansfield brought in a picture of actress Helen Mirren as inspiration for her stylist. She was motivated to participate by a friend who has donated to Locks for Love.
"I believe in recycling. If you can recycle hair, why not?" she said.
McCullough said she hopes to make "Looks, Locks and Laughter" an annual event. For more information on Locks for Love, visit www.locksoflove.org.