Third-grader Sabrina Wages donates hair to Locks of Love

Wednesday, January 5, 2005
Sabrina Wages, 8, lets her sister, Samantha, 13, style her hair while her other sister, Faith, 4, looks on. Sabrina recently donated hair to Locks of Love, an organization that makes wigs for needy children who have lost their hair, many to an autoimmune disease called alopecia areata. CCN / Angela Shafer

It isn't common for a third-grader to be willing to cut her hair to help others, but Sabrina Wages hasn't had the usual third-grader's experiences.

Sabrina said her grandmother, Kathy Ambrose, of Eagle Rock, Mo., first told her about Locks of Love, a non-profit group that makes wigs for needy children using donated hair.

Though she had never cut her hair, which, according to her mother, Sue, was so long she nearly could nearly sit on it, and, until that moment, did not want to cut it, she said hearing about children who needed hair made her decision easy.

"Whenever my grandma started talking about (donating hair to Locks of Love), I wanted to do it."

Sue, said she and her husband, Chris, former Eureka Springs Police School Resource officer, used to tease her by saying they would make her get a haircut.

But the decision to donate her hair was hers alone, and, according to Sue, it didn't take long.

"She thought about it one day and by bedtime, she wanted to do it."

Another thing that helped Sabrina make up her mind was the Locks of Love website, www.locksoflove.org, on which she saw photographs of children before and after receiving their wigs.

On the website, participating salons were listed that knew how to cut and package the hair to send on to Locks of Love in Lake Worth, Fla.

The nearest salon was Mr. John's Image Maker Spa in Ft. Smith. Sue said Sabrina was not nervous, nor did she show any hesitation in getting her hair cut.

"She was so excited. She couldn't wait to get it cut because she knew where it was going."

According to their website, Locks of Love provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children 18 years old and younger who suffer from long-term hair loss.

Most of the children who receive hairpiece prosthetics have lost their hair due to a condition called alopecia areata, which has no known cause or cure.

According to webmd.com, alopecia areata occurs when one's immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles. It is most common among people younger than 20 years old, but chidren and adults of any age can be affected.

About 10 percent of those with the condition will never regrow hair. Permanent hair loss is more likely if one has a family history of the condition, if onset is before puberty or lasts longer than one year, if one has an autoimmune disease, or if one has abnormal color, shape, texture, or thickness of the fingernails or toenails.

Helping others is part of the Wages family fabric.

Chris and Sue have instilled a sense of helping those in need, and have shown it by adopting two children, Timothy, 6, and Faith, 4, from China.

Chris is currently in Baghdad, where he trains Iraqi soldiers. He is expected back home at the end of August 2005.

Sabrina and her sister, Samantha, 13, raised money from their allowance last year to buy and donate school supplies and other gifts to Feed the Children in Oklahoma City.

Sue said Sabrina and Samantha raised $120 to buy school supplies and "girlie things" for needy children as part of the program. Those who donated were asked to put the school supplies in shoe boxes. However, the shoe boxes were not big enough to hold everything they had bought, so Sue bought some larger Tupperware¨ dishes and they somehow fit the school supplies, stuffed animals, shampoos, and soaps into them.

According to Sue, Sabrina and Samantha are aware of their own blessings and the plight of other young people.

"They understand there are other people in need."

After getting her hair cut, Sabrina had some adjustments to make, such as how different it was to wash shorter hair, but her father was not aware of the change until a webcam conference from Jordan, where he was previously stationed.

According to Samantha, Chris was openly uncertain when he was told over the webcam that his wife and daughters had something to show him. When he saw Sabrina, he was stunned.

"(He typed) what did you do to your hair, girlfriend?" she said.

According to Sue, it takes approximately six to 10 pieces of at least 10 inches of donated hair to make one wig, and Sabrina is more than willing to keep donating.

"She wants to grow (her hair) out so she can do it again."

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: