It’s been a while since Brad Nelson, co-manager of Skagit Cycle Store in Oak Harbor, had a haircut, but that changed last Wednesday.
Nelson arrived on time for his appointment, with wife Cortni and a small entourage of friends in tow, at Allure Salon and Spa, He wasn’t just there for a long overdue haircut, vanity or pampering, but to donate his hair to charity.
It’s taken Nelson more than three years to grow his hair nearly 16 inches, but it only took a matter of seconds for stylist Christina Berry to snip it off, all with the purpose of donating it to Wigs for Kids, an organization that provides donated hair to children going through chemotherapy, radiation therapy or other medical reasons.
Berry said she wished more people would do this but said that many don’t because they are very attached to their hair.
“This is such a great thing to do,” she said.
Nelson’s wife Cortni Thrasher said she was there for support but didn’t want to actually watch Nelson get it cut.
“I want to be pleasantly surprised when it’s all done,” she said.
Nelson said he has never donated hair before but it seemed like a good idea and he didn’t want their soon-to-be-born child to know only him with long hair because he once had a bad experience as a young child when his dad shaved off his large beard.
“My dad came out with a towel hiding his face and when he took it off to surprise me, apparently I cried and freaked out because I didn’t seem to recognize him,” Nelson said.
He added he may donate again, but for now he will be enjoying his new look even though he may have to purchase a smaller bike helmet.
“Being able to donate my hair to Wigs for Kids is especially cool because it is for the children,” Nelson said.
According to the Wigs for Kids website, typical hair replacements cost around $1,800. Wigs for Kids relies solely on donations and never charges families for children who have lost their hair due to a medical reason.
The organization’s website says the effects of hair loss go deeper than just a change in a child’s outward appearance, but can erode a child’s self-confidence and limit them from experiencing life the way children should.
If a child has an injured self-image, their attitude toward treatment and their physical response to it can be negatively affected also. Wigs for Kids helps children suffering from hair loss look at themselves again and live their lives.
More than two million children are affected by hair loss according to the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.