Making a Sacrifice

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Area teen donates to Locks of Love

By Mark Shaffer/The Ironton Tribune

For Amanda McArthur, it was a simple decision to cut off her hair.

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“My grandmother had cancer and lost her hair through chemotherapy,” she said.

McArthur said she couldn’t believe how expensive it was for real-hair wigs but could imagine how much it must affect children going through the same thing as her grandmother, Sharon Gustin.

“I saw the effects of cancer and I want to help out in some way,” she said. “There are kids younger than me going through this. I’m really glad I can help them.”

So McArthur spent the past year growing her hair long enough so it could be donated to Locks of Love, a group that takes hair and turns it into wigs for children who have lost their hair due to illness.

Her father, Houston, is understandably proud of his daughter.

“To do a selfless act like this is amazing,” he said. “But Amanda is an incredible girl anyway.”

He said this is actually the second time McArthur has tried to donate her hair. Last time, the length cut off was too short to donate. Last Thursday, she went to the stylist who cut off 11 inches of hair.

“My hair was half-way down my back, now it is almost touching my shoulders,” the 16-year-old Symmes Valley High School student said. “It’s a big change.”

McArthur said she had been planning for long time to donate her hair, even if it meant having to go through a hot summer but she said it was worth it.

“It was really important to me, I’ve been wanting to do it since my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer three years ago,” she said. “I’m really excited to do something like this to help.”

McArthur is involved in a number of organizations including various 4-H groups, the Junior Chamber of Commerce, Carteens, the Lawrence County Fair board, Teen Leaders, FFA, and FCA. She is also a cheerleader at Symmes Valley and was a member of the Lawrence County Fair Princess Court.

“It’s all just to keep an involvement in the county,” she said.

Locks of Love was started in 1997 by a retired nurse who, along with her daughter, had hair loss from an autoimmune disease that causes the body to stop producing hair follicles. According to their Web site, Locks of Love receives over 2,000 hair donations in the mail each week with 80 percent of it coming from children. The group has made over 1,000 wigs for sick kids and is working towards its goal to help every financially disadvantaged child suffering from long-term hair loss.