Listen to this post
RANGELY I It’s the season for giving, but those gifts don’t always come wrapped in bright packages.
Sometimes they come in the form of ponytails bundled with rubber bands. Like the 14 inches of hair Rangely second-grader Mariah Henson donated two Saturdays ago.
“She came home from school and said, ‘I want to cut my hair for Locks of Love,’” grandmother Brenda Ahrens said. “I told her mom (Kacee Jackson), ‘That’s really something for a 7 year old.’”
Mariah told her family she wanted to help “the little kids who have cancer and to help (Locks of Love) make their wigs,” Ahrens said.
Children benefited by Locks of Love may have lost their hair from chemotherapy or radiation. Others have skin burns or the skin condition alopecia areata. All who qualify receive prosthetic hairpieces that would normally cost between $3,500 and $6,000 for little or no cost. It takes between six and 10 ponytails to make one wig.
For some people, donating is just something they do every time their hair reaches the required 10 inch minimum length. Last month, Rangely mother of four Julie Noyes cut her hair, donating it to Locks of Love for the third time in seven years.
Only this time was different. Noyes accompanied then-3-year-old daughter Emelia Mae, or “Mae Mae,” to her first haircut. It was also Mae Mae’s first donation to Locks of Love.
“She’s my last baby, and I thought it would be something special we could do together for someone else,” Noyes said. “It was bittersweet because she had that fine blonde baby hair she’ll never have again. But it was also rewarding and satisfying because we’re doing it for a bigger purpose.”
At first, Mae Mae wasn’t sure about the haircut.
“She said, ‘Why you do that for?,’” Noyes recalled. “But after (stylist) Lyndsey (Wiley) did it, she was excited and bouncing around, looking at the ponytails.”
Wiley’s Salon cuts hair donated to Locks of Love for free.
Brenda and husband Kent took Mariah to a Grand Junction salon for her haircut, where Mariah “grinned the whole time they were doing it,” Ahrens said.
When Brenda’s friend Rene Harden learned what Mariah had done, she put her interest in photography to use, creating two collages as gifts to the little girl.
“I thought it was wonderful, very selfless,” Harden said. “You won’t meet a lot of kids willing to do that for someone else.”