Students, community members donate over 78 ft. of hair to Locks of Love

March 11, 2007 -- Jessica Parker - Clare Zlatic and Meg Rigney, SGA co-service liaisons, had a strange job Monday.

“I feel really weird walking around with people’s ponytails,” Zlatic said before dropping another two into plastic bags.

For four hours Monday, the girls crossed the floor of Ashworth’s Beauty Group, 1100 Brown Street, carrying ponytails as 62 people donated their hair for SGA’s annual Locks of Love event.

Locks of Love, according to its Web site, is a non-profit organization that uses donated hair to create hairpieces for children who have lost their hair due to medical conditions. The organization provides hairpieces either free of charge or on a sliding price scale, depending on the financial situation of the child’s family.

Roommates Michele Rickert and Becca Washburn, both juniors, showed up to Ashworth’s together to donate their hair. Washburn said she donated 11 inches last year and hoped to give 10 this year.

“My hair grows uncannily fast,” she explained.

Washburn said she talked Rickert into coming to donate with her, because her roommate had had the same hairstyle for a long time.

“I’m really nervous,” Rickert admitted. “I haven’t had my hair short since eighth grade.”

Several of the participants who donated their hair mentioned they had not had a short haircut for many years.

“I haven’t had it short since second grade,” said sophomore music education major Nichole Plows.

By the end of the event, SGA had collected 944 inches of hair. Rigney said the longest donation, 16 inches, came from sophomore Laurie Newblom.

“She’s been growing her hair for a long time,” Rigney said.

It was not just women who sacrificed their locks. Eric Eble, fifth-year psychology and English major, showed up to donate what he said was probably eight or nine inches of hair.

Eble said he had started growing his hair out two years ago to donate it to Locks of Love, but he was reluctant to part with it. Still, he found a reason to come.

“My girlfriend just did it too, and I kind of wanted to surprise her,” Eble said.

SGA held sign-ups for the donation day in October and filled all 80 spots, but that number had dropped to about 40 as the day approached. Zlatic and Rigney decided to open the event up to the Dayton community, inviting anyone to come and donate their hair.

“They were eager to participate,” Rigney said of the community members. She said this is the first time SGA has opened the Locks of Love event to the public.

Zlatic said there was a young boy who had seen a television show several years ago in which a character donated his or her hair, and he had been growing it out ever since.

“He was so excited,” she said.

Even those who were apprehensive about their haircuts were satisfied in the end.

“I actually like it already better than I thought I was going to,” Rickert said of her short locks.

“I’m happy,” said freshman psychology major Colleen Molloy, who admitted she had been “a little freaked out” leading up the day, despite donating 16 inches of hair on a previous occasion.

Overall, Zlatic and Rigney said the event was a success.

“Ashworth’s has been a huge help … it’s been amazing,” Zlatic said.

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