BYU women set to donate hair to Locks of Love

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Female BYU students can receive free haircuts Wednesday, Feb. 17, and Thursday, Feb. 18, in the Wilkinson Student Center terrace during Y-Serve’s Locks of Love event.

Camille Ridd before donating at Y-Serve's Locks of Love event.
Camille Ridd before donating at Y-Serve’s Locks of Love event. (Camille Ridd)

Cosmetologists from the Paul Mitchell school and Renaissance Academie will volunteer from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on both days. Y-Serve will donate the hair to Locks of Love and Pantene Beautiful Lengths. The hair will then be made into wigs for women and girls who experience medical hair loss.

The event’s executive director Rachel Fisk said Y-Serve has hosted this event every semester since 2010. The Winter 2015 Semester was the first time Y-Serve held the event for two days, and the hair added up to around 55 feet according to Fisk.

“It’s a really good opportunity to share something that you can grow back that someone else can’t grow for themselves,” Fisk said.

Last semester freshman Camille Ridd walked into the WSC and donated her hair for the fourth time.

She first donated her hair while in the third grade. Ridd’s aunt was diagnosed with lymphoma, and she pondered what she could do to help those who battle cancer. She resolved to chop off her long hair and donate it to Locks of Love. While her aunt never wore a wig, Ridd said the donation made her feel “more connected to the issue.”

Ridd grew out her hair and then donated again when she was in the sixth grade and again in the eighth grade. She never planned on doing it a fourth time until Y-Serve’s Locks of Love event.

“I had been contemplating cutting my hair for probably eight months before that, but I was like, ‘I’m never donating again. That’s too much,'” Ridd said.

Ridd had gone to the WSC planning to attend a guest-speaker lecture. An event volunteer stopped her and asked her to consider donating.

Camille Ridd after cutting her hair.
Camille Ridd after cutting her hair. (Camille Ridd)

“I was walking into the Wilk and some lady was holding a sign and said, ‘Hey, you should go donate your hair. It’s long enough.’ It was kind of like a 15-minute decision,” Ridd said.

She signed up, and a cosmetologist cut her hair. Ridd was happy with the experience and the bold style change.

“I think it was really good because it made me more prepared for other changes,” Ridd said.

Chris Crippen, the director for the Center of Service and Learning, enjoys watching¬†all the emotions at the event. It’s a mixture between fear and excitement. Music fills the terrace, and students gather to watch and support. Cosmetologists encourage and compliment the courageous donors.

“You can literally see the sacrifice,” Crippen said. “You can see the girls feeling ¬†like ‘I’m going to do this. I’m going to do something that’s really hard for me, and it’s going to help someone out.'”

Not everyone can donate. Hair must be at least eight inches long to donate to Pantene Beautiful Lengths and 10 inches long for Locks of Love, and hair can be colored but not bleached.

Fisk said they added Pantene Beautiful Lengths to the event beginning last semester because Pantene Beautiful Lengths’s shorter length requirement provides more opportunity for women to donate.

Pantene Beautiful Lengths has received over 800,000 ponytails and donated over 42,000 wigs to the American Cancer Society Wig Bank since 2006 according to the organization’s website.

The main difference between Pantene Beautiful Lengths and Locks of Love is the age of the people they serve. Beautiful Lengths works for adult women, and Locks of Love works for children.

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