The Gift of the Magi

Publisher’s Note: I wrote this article several years ago to encourage women to consider donating their hair to one of the organizations which accepts human hair for cancer victims. I ran it again November 10, 2006, when I donated a 10 inch braid at Macy’s Bellevue Salon. Today I donated another 10″ braid at Great Clips in Bellevue, so I thought it was time to revisit this article. — Kathryn E. Darden, Aug. 21, 2008

In O. Henry’s traditional Christmas short story, “The Gift of the Magi,” Della sells her beautiful hair for $20 in order to purchase a watch fob for her husband. In a similar gesture, Jo March sells her abundant tresses for $25 in Louisa May Alcott’s classic Little Women to purchase a ticket for Marmee to travel to tend their ailing father. For women of their era, the loss of their locks in the name of love was a great gift indeed as women wore their hair long in the style of the day.

Today’s woman has the opportunity to also give a great gift when they visit the beauty salon as at least two organizations can use those long strands to benefit children who suffer from cancer. Rather than let your
tresses by swept into the dustpan, consider the option of donating it to a worthy cause.

Human hair wigs are quite costly, but by donating hair to either Locks of Love or Wigs for Kids, you can make it possible for any child to acquire an attractive wig after suffering the ravages of cancer and the side effects of
chemotherapy and radiation.

Wigs for Kids is a not-for-profit organization providing hair replacement solutions for children affected by hair loss due to
chemotherapy, alopecia, burns and other medical conditions. Located on
the web at WigsforKids,Wigs for Kids
requests hair that is at least 12″ in length that has not been colored or highlighted.

Locks of Love is a another not-for-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children under the age of 18 with medical hair loss. These custom-fitted hair prosthetics are provided free of charge or on a sliding scale to children whose families meet the Locks of Love Board of Directors guidelines. Donors provide the
hair, volunteers staff the office, and the manufacturer hand-assembles each piece, which requires approximately four months.

Locks of Love accepts 10″ minimum hair
length (tip to tip), colored/highlighted accepted and can be found on the web at Locks of Love

When I was young, my mother often braided my hair, and she taught me the trick at an early age. I cut my first braid off when I was 13 and from then on I have occasionally let my hair grow long. A few years ago, after my mother died of cancer, I began cutting my hair off in one long braid to donate to make wigs for children with cancer. This year on my December 19 birthday, after a busy day
collecting toys for Agape, Inc., I had one more gift to take care of; I spent an hour at the beauty salon at Hechts (now Macys) Bellevue Center having my hair cut.

Since hair cut years ago is usable as long as it has been stored in a ponytail, I had saved my last two braids to donate along with today’s
newest addition. When Hechts found out what I was doing, they collected more hair to add to the pile going to one of the above organizations.

Kay Robinson the salon manager told me Hechts is happy to work with customers to cut and save hair to donate to kids with cancer and they have worked with Gilda’s Club in the past. She was on hand to take before and after photos and to introduce me to hair
stylist Leigh Ann Boren who cut my hair with the aid of stylist Stephanie Hebert, who collected the hair.

After the hair is cut it can be mailed to either:
Locks of Love, 2925 10th Ave. North, Ste. 102, Lake Worth, FL 33461 or
Wigs for Kids, Executive Club Building, 21330 Center Ridge Road, Suite
C, Rocky River, Ohio 44116.

The Gift of the Magi was the sacrificial gift of something precious in the name of love. While it may not be a sacrifice today to cut your
hair, it can still be a most precious gift to a child who has lost his or her hair to cancer.

The magi, as you know, were wise men — wise men who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who gave gifts, these two were the wisest. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are the wisest. Everywhere they are wisest.
They are the magi. — O. Henry

Related Stories & Links:
Locks of Love
Wigs for Kids



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