By: Alex Fees
Special to KSDK -- A program designed to help women who need hair pieces due to cancer treatments and children with long-term hair loss has a monthly home at Grace Church near St. Louis.
On the morning of the first Saturday of each month, organizers of the Graceful Cuts Hair Donation Clinic coordinate hair stylists and long-haired volunteers in an effort to rock the worlds of people who are "follically"-challenged.
A haircut, even for a woman, can be a simple matter of maintenance. But the women who turn-out at the Graceful Cuts Hair Donation Clinic often have hair long enough to make a difference on somebody else's head. Donated hair is sent to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, a program which provides free custom hairpieces to women who have lost their hair due to cancer treatments. Another program recipient is Locks of Love, which supplies hairpieces to children with long-term hair loss.
Carla Hickey is a program coordinator.
Hickey said, "The donors already have long hair, and most were considering donating it anyway. That helps with the emotions, considerably. However, in September, we had a middle-aged woman whose very long hair played a role in her identity. She worked with the public, and was frequently identified by her long hair. She teared-up during the cut, especially when the stylist handed her the 10-inch ponytails. But before she left the clinic, we spent time praying for the women who would receive wigs made from the hair she was donating. And that helped tremendously."
Hickey said they normally have two or three stylists available, depending on how many volunteers are scheduled. She explained how the program came about at Grace Church.
"By the Grace of God," said Hickey. "I have healthy, fast-growing hair that is still less than ten-percent gray, and for my fortieth birthday I made a donation to Locks of Love. I intended to make a similar donation to Pantene Beautiful Lengths on my birthday last year, but things kept getting in the way of my haircut. In January, a lady from Grace suggested that perhaps I should start a new hair donation program, incorporating the Hair Cut Clinic. Well I took the idea to heart, got approval from Pastor Lauren Quagliata, and Graceful Cuts was born."
Hickey said more information on similar programs in other parts of the country is available on-line at www.beautifullengths.com and www.locksoflove.org.
"I trust, not hope," said Hickey, "that God will use this program to enrich the lives of donors and recipients alike. I had two girlfriends who lost their hair due to chemotherapy from ovarian cancer a few years ago, and another who is currently in treatment for breast cancer. All of these ladies had medical insurance and resources to obtain hairpieces if they so desired. I saw what a tremendous boost the wigs made to their self-esteem. The programs that we support provide the vital hairpieces to women who don't have the financial resources to obtain them. God willing, seeing this will motivate more women to become donors throughout the Midwest!"
Grace Church is located at the intersection of McKelvey and Creve Coeur Mill Roads in Maryland Heights, Missouri. Grace contact information:
2695 Creve Coeur Mill Road
Maryland Heights, MO 63043