Sisterly Locks of Love

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:14

    Sparta -As Hannah Bertoline excitedly showed off her new short and sassy hairstyle, Megan, feeling a bit anxious like her sister had felt a few moments ago, climbed into the hairdresser's chair for her scheduled haircut. Snip. Snip. Within seconds Megan went from having waist-long hair to sporting short hair. By this time a small group of well wishers made up of patrons and staff had gathered to show their support for the girls. Not a piece of hair hit the ground, and everyone gave a little cheer as the hairstylist in the Encore Salon in Sparta held up the perfect, nearly 14-inch ponytail. Although this was the first official day of summer, these were no ordinary summer haircuts. The trip to the hairstylist for these sisters was not for the usual reasons. Cancer was the furthest thing from the minds of these 9-year-old twins from Sparta, until a schoolmates parent lost her hair as a result of cancer treatments. The girls saw firsthand one of the side effects that some cancer treatments have on people battling the illness. "She had such pretty hair," said Hannah "I felt so sad for her." The girls wanted to do something to help other people going through similar experiences. Together with their mother Lori, they learned of a non profit organization that accepts human hair donations and makes them into hairpieces for people who have lost their hair due to an illness or cancer treatment. "It really was their idea, they wanted to do something that would help people, especially children like themselves. After we talked about it awhile, I felt they were really serious about doing this, so, we contacted the Locks of Love organization and got all the information we needed to become hair donors," says Lori. The sisters then began the long journey of hair growing, which took over a year. Donated hair must be over 10 inches long. It takes six to 10 ponytails to make just one individual hairpiece. "We would never have grown our hair this long" says Hannah, who typically sports a shoulder length style with her sister. "It was hard sometimes especially when it got knots. I feel so much cooler now with it short. Long hair is too hot for the summer," added Megan. Mom was concerned about keeping such long hair nice and neat looking throughout the school year and admits it was difficult at times to maintain. "I feel very good about myself for doing this, and I think I would do it again in a couple of years" said Hannah, reflecting back on the year. "I feel good because someone who needs hair will be getting mine" stated Megan proudly. The sisters hope that their long locks will go to girls like themselves. Following the haircuts the trio celebrated the long year of hair care and their long awaited day of donation by having lunch with friends. The Locks of Love is a non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children suffering from long term medical hair loss. Most of their recipients have lost their hair due to a medical condition called alopecia areata, while others have hair loss due to cancer treatments. Often insurance does not cover the expense of a wig. Operating on volunteers, donations, and other contributions Locks of Love provide children with wigs at no cost to their families who otherwise couldn't afford them. "I think it's such a good program. It helps kids regain some self-esteem and dignity" says Lori. "My husband and I are so proud of our girls. It's nice to know that they're not so hung up on their looks that they can't think of someone else in need. We think it is a great process to go through with your kids. They learned that there are other ways, besides just donating money, to make a difference in someone's life." Locks of Love is based in Lake Worth Florida and can be reached at 561-963-1677. More information about hair donations or how to become a hairpiece recipient can be obtained by visiting their Web site at