Community

Kent hair salon gives back, one lock at a time

One Kent hair salon is making a difference in the world, one ponytail at a time.

William James Salon in Kent Station collected 81 inches of hair from October to Jan. 1 for Locks of Love, a nonprofit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children throughout the country who experience medical hair loss from any diagnosis.

"We're going to forever stay a Locks of Love salon," manager Mike Laier said.

Laier made the commitment to collect donations for the charity after a client, Kelly Beckley, (inset photo, after her haircut) was diagnosed with breast cancer.

"She is an amazing woman and made a huge difference for me," Laier said. "She got me thinking, 'What can I do, what can I offer?' Turns out it was just a little of my time, and my talent was all I needed to give."

Laier's salon became a registered salon with Locks of Love. Anyone who wishes to donate 10 inches of hair or more to the effort gets a free haircut. Since the salon began to participate, Laier has been shipping out donations each month.

"It takes quite a few ponytails to make one piece," Laier said.

It takes six to 10 ponytails to make one hairpiece, according to the Locks of Love website. The hairpieces go to boys and girls alike, but most of the recipients are girls. Donors don't get to see the creations that their donations make because it's too hard to track where all the hair winds up. The hairpieces are provided free or on a sliding-scale to recipients. Locks of Love estimates that the retail cost of such hairpieces is between $3,500 and $6,000.

"We're excited to be a part of her journey," Laier said of Beckley, who inspired the salon's efforts.

Beckley donated 17 inches of her own hair before she lost it.

"It's so big of them and small for us to help (clients) donate," he said.

The salon has been open since August and Laier hopes to make it a destination for "last hair parties to ease the pain of losing it all at once."

He is working with the salon's make-up representative to develop ways to teach how to re-apply eyebrows using cosmetics and replacement eyelashes. Some people lose both due to sickness and, or medications like chemotherapy.

Donors receive acknowledgement of their donation from Locks of Love, which is headquartered in West Palm Beach, Fla., about 60 days after they've donated.

William James Salon, 438 Ramsey Way, is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday-Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday.

For more information on Locks of Love, visit www.locksoflove.org.

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