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Mother, daughter duo donate their locks
hair donations
Hayley and Laura Ralston hold their freshly-cut, donation-ready ponytails at Tanglez Salon and Boutique. - photo by ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal

Brown Elementary school student Laura Ralston and her mother, Hayley, have been growing out their hair for two and a half years, but not for their own vanity. They chopped off a combined 26 inches of their long, brown locks Friday and donated it to Wigs for Kids, a private, non-profit organization that creates hair replacement systems for children who would otherwise be unable to afford them.

Annually, Wigs for Kids helps between 125 and 130 children who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy, radiation therapy, alopecia, trichotillomania, burns and other medical issues at no cost to them or their families. It’s thanks to donations from people like Hayley and Laura Ralston that Wigs for Kids is able to thrive.

Prior to Friday’s cut, Hayley had donated her hair to the cause twice. She thought it was something her daughter might enjoy as well, so they began growing their hair out together. To donate to Wigs for Kids, the length of the donation must be at least 12 inches.

“It means a lot just knowing that we can really make a difference for several children,” said Hayley. “It’s something easy for us to do that someone will appreciate as a gift, and I’m so proud of my daughter for doing this, too.”

Tanglez Salon & Boutique owner Amber Young provided the haircut for the Ralstons and has been taking donations for wigs from clients since her salon opened four years ago. Those who donate their hair also receive their cut for free. Young previously sent donations to Locks of Love, but upon discovering that children had to pay for wigs from the company, she began recommending Wigs for Kids as her clients’ donation destination.

Seeing young girls like Laura come in and donate their hair is an event that the entire salon was eager to watch, with many stopping their work to watch Young make the first snip.

“In this salon, we’ve been affected by cancer a lot,” said Young. “It means a lot to us.”

Not only has Young spearheaded many local donations, but she and other salon employees have travelled to Walnut Elementary School to hold hair cutting rallies where students have their hair cut in front of the entire student body and donate it to the cause. A young boy grew out his hair and donated it at the last rally, according to Young. In the future, she hopes that the rallies can expand to other schools.

“It’s awesome,” said Young. “It takes these kids a long time to grow it out. They’re dedicated.”