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Lots of locks donated for cancer patients

Nearly 20 people showed up Saturday morning to have their hair chopped off and donated to the national non-profit organization Locks of Love. Organizer Dick Kimball embarked on this event after losing his mother and father to cancer and good friend Swede Nelson. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)1 / 2
After all locks were cut from 10 to 12 inches, participants posed for an after photo. Plans call for this to become an annual community hair-cutting event in Park Rapids. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)2 / 2

Park Rapids held its first community hair-cutting event at the American Legion on Saturday.

Area residents donated their hair to Locks of Love, a national non-profit organization. Locks of Love takes hair donations of 10 to 12 inches to use in making wigs, primarily for children who are going through cancer treatments.

Dick Kimball, who organized the event, lost both his mother and father to cancer and more recently lost his good friend Swede Nelson to pancreatic cancer. His reaction was to do something to help other cancer patients.

"All of us are touched by cancer. We have friends or family who had cancer. This is our chance to make a difference," he said.

On Saturday about 20 area residents donated their hair. The youngest was 3-year old Linden Fisher of Nevis. Also present was 4-year-old Isabelle Bravo and her older sister Richelle, age 10, of Park Rapids. A mother and daughter, Becky and Tasha Maninga, of Menahga, donated their hair as well.

Locks of Love is a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under age 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis. The organization meets a unique need for children by using donated hair to create the highest quality hair prosthetics. Most of the children helped by Locks of Love have lost their hair due to a medical condition called alopecia areata, which has no known cause or cure. The prostheses provided helps to restore their self-esteem and their confidence, enabling them to face the world and their peers.

When Dick Kimball was asked if he would do this again next year he answered, "Sure, but I won't be getting my hair cut. It took me three years to get it this long and it feels good to be rid of that pony tail."

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561