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Butler County shares yards and yards of hair for Locks of Love

Enough locks to cover the length of three football fields. That’s how much Butler County hair was donated in the past year to Locks of Love, a non-profit organization that makes high-quality wigs for children who have lost their own hair to illness or trauma.

“I thought we were going to be a little shy of reaching that third football field, but another lady decided to donate hair at Relay and we made it,” said Jill Stallworth, who organizes Locks of Love hair donations in the county.

Donations are made throughout the year, but the most visible event takes place at the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life each May. The team of hair stylists at Marilyn’s in Greenville donates their evening to snip off the tresses on stage and then provides each donor with a complete style in their tent next to the stage.

Each of the donors (some as young as preschool age) gets to share on stage why they are donating their hair to the program, whether in honor of a family member or friend who is currently battling cancer, or to remember someone who didn’t win that battle.

It is an emotional event that brings both exultant smiles and tears to the faces of donors and attendees alike.

Cancer patient Tina Powell of McKenzie, an attendee at Relay, had reddened eyes afterwards.

“Seeing those people – especially those little kids – well, it really gets to you,” she said.

Stallworth shared with the Relay crowd the fact these wigs, which are specially designed to stay on a child’s head through swimming, sports and other activities, cost close to $5,000 each. They are provided at no cost or at a greatly reduced rate to financially disadvantaged children across the U.S. and Canada.

“We’ve done a great job over the last few years with our hair donations,” Stallworth said.

“Now I think it’s time we look at also doing some fundraising to send some dollars to this worthy cause as well.”

To learn more about Locks of Love, visit www.lockoflove.org or contact Jill Stallworth at 382-9597.