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Helping others at a good clip

Harley Crocker came into Guys and Dolls on Tuesday to cut her long blonde hair for the first time in her life. The 7-year-old proudly got up in chair, actually anxious to have her long hair cut.

It could be said that she was on a mission, that this haircut had more meaning than simply getting a new ’do. Her 12-inch-long hair was going to be sent to Locks of Love to help provide a hairpiece to a child who lost her hair to illness.

“Harley saw the commercial for St. Jude Children’s Hospital and wished that the children had hair,” said Harley’s mother, Samantha Corkerin. “I mentioned to her what we could do, and she wanted to do that for the children who had cancer.”

Harley’s grandmother, Ernestine Johnson, died of cancer in 1994, before Harley was even born. Johnson regularly gave to the American Cancer Society, and Harley is carrying on that tradition by donating her hair to Locks of Love.

“Locks of Love is just over 10 years old now,” said Lauren Kukkamaa, the communications director for Locks of Love. “It started as a for-profit hair replacement company, but when a need was recognized to provide hairpieces for children who are financially disadvantaged and suffering from medical hair loss, then Locks of Love was created as a charity for that purpose.”

Kukkamaa said children suffering from hair loss caused by a medical problem, such as alopecia, cancer treatments and burn victims benefit from their service.

“Donating hair is really easy,” she said. “A donor can go anywhere to anyone to have it cut. Then, it would need to be mailed in to us.”

Several of the guidelines to donate hair or to nominate a recipient can be found at the organization’s Web site, www.locksoflove.org.

Donated hair must be at least 10 inches in length and bundled as a ponytail. It is then packaged and mailed to the Locks of Love office in West Palm Beach, Fla. There, the hair is sorted by length and color and sent to a manufacturer to prepare the hairpiece.

“Each hairpiece is custom-made for each child,” Kukkamaa said. “It takes between six to 12 ponytails to make one hairpiece.”

Ginger Mitchell, who cut Harley’s hair, said she has had several people come in wanting to make donations to Locks of Love, three or four in the last two or three weeks alone. She said that Guys and Dolls manager Linda Massey collects the ponytails they cut and mails them in bundles to Locks of Love.

“I saw kids who don’t have any hair on TV, and this was my special idea,” Harley said. “It makes me feel good. I know that the kids who don’t have hair can use my hair.”

Mitchell was happy to see someone as young as Harley make a donation.

“It’s so sweet, the way she wanted to use her hair to help someone with cancer,” she said.

“It affects so many people. There are so many people in Demopolis who have been through this.

“It was just so special to have her do that,” she said. “I’m always glad when people come in to do that.”

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