Seymour youth donates her hair

Leona Chambers recently made a donation to help other kids, but instead of a monetary donation, she gave something a little more personal – her hair.

The 9-year-old is the daughter of Elton and Montica Chambers of Seymour.

“At first, I wanted to grow my hair out super-duper long, and I never wanted to cut it. Then one day, it popped up in a conversation,” Leona said. “I was kidding and said I was going to donate my hair and cut it really short, but then I started to think about it and told my mom I’d actually kind of like to do that.”

She said her mom thought it was really great, and her dad said she could go ahead and get her hair cut short because then his hair would be longer than hers. It has been like a contest between her and her dad as to who has the longest hair.

Leona said she thought that somebody else might really be needing a hair donation and would be happy to get it, but when she got to the beauty shop and was about to get her hair cut, she started getting nervous.

“I was telling myself not to stress out, but then they put the blanket on me and I thought, ‘Wow! This is really happening,’” she said. “They braided

my hair and measured it to make sure it was 14 inches long and put a rubber band around it and then several other rubber bands just to hold it all together.”

Leona said she really likes her new shorter haircut but can barely get her hair in a ponytail for gymnastics. She might let it grow out again, but she’s not sure.

Montica said Leona decided weeks ago that she wanted to donate her hair, and they finally made the appointment for May 10 at Exist Salon, where stylist Sarah Luedeman cut Leona’s hair.

“I actually found out about Wigs for Kids from an online search. Then my hair salon confirmed that was a reputable organization to donate to,” Montica said. “When Leona said she wanted to donate her hair, we thought it was a great idea, and we loved that she wanted to help someone else.”

She said different organizations have different requirements, but Wigs for Kids, based in Westlake, Ohio, requires at least 12 to 14 inches with the hair separated into four to six sections. They mailed the hair to the organization.

“Donating your hair is an easy way to help someone else,” Montica said. “It’s a small personal sacrifice that can make a big impact for someone struggling with hair loss.”

The various causes of hair loss in children don’t result in just physical suffering. The change in their appearance can drastically hurt their self-image and ruin their self-esteem.

According to the Wigs for Kids website, Jeffrey Paul, a certified cosmetic therapist, is the founder. The nonprofit hair donation organization has been serving children suffering from hair loss since 1981.

Wigs for Kids is a cooperative effort among certified service providers throughout North America who share a common goal.

“Children shouldn’t have to worry about how they look, especially when they’re in the middle of a health crisis,” Paul said. “We want to give these kids the opportunity to feel good about themselves again.”

The cost of the hair replacement systems Wigs for Kids provides is approximately $1,800.

“These are custom-made hair replacements, and each prosthesis is hand-tied and is made completely from human hair. We make sure they look just like a child’s own hair,” Paul said. “They won’t come off on the baseball field or in the playground. Kids can count on them.”

He said because kids look just the way they did before, they feel better about themselves. They look in the mirror and their eyes light up. To see that light in their eyes. That’s priceless.