On the final day of October, women crowded into Baylor Medical Center at Irving’s Survivor Gals salon eager to donate their long hair to Locks of Love, a non-profit organization that turns the donated hair into wigs for children.
In total, there were 10 donors, ranging from first-time donors to Penny Thesing, a fourth-time donor. Every donor had a connection to Baylor Irving through employment or offspring of a Baylor Irving employee.
Thesing, who organized the event, kept wiping away tears of joy as, one by one, the women pulled their long hair back into ponytails or pigtails to allow one quick cut. The volunteers earned smiles and cheers from a crowd that included cancer survivors and patients and an oncologist.
Most of those who grew their hair the required 10 inches work with cancer patients. Although their newly chopped hair looked raggedly and uneven, the volunteers’ feelings of giving made up for the haircuts. Most had already scheduled hair appointments to tidy up their short hair into a new look.
As I drove back to my office, I thought about the O. Henry short story, “The Gift of the Magi.” In that story, a young wife, Della, cuts and then sells her beautiful long hair to have money to purchase a Christmas gift for her husband. Although the story is an old one, the act of giving unselfishly never goes out of style.