After deciding summer hair was in, the Haveman sisters, Jadyn,5 and Kourtney,8 of Rockford, with the help of Bangz Hair Salon, had their hair cut, donating it to a child in need through Locks of Love. Their smiles show not only two beautiful short-haired girls, but also the joy of knowing you are helping others.
Locks of Love is a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under age 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis. They meet a unique need for children by using donated hair to create the highest quality hair prosthetics. Most of the children helped by Locks of Love have lost their hair due to a medical condition called alopecia areata, which has no known cause or cure. The prostheses provided help to restore their self-esteem and their confidence, enabling them to face the world and their peers.
When Locks of Love first began, it was connected with a for-profit wig retailer. In December 1997, the organization obtained its 501(c)(3) certification from the IRS. With the installation of a volunteer Board of Directors, the charity began operating as an entity unto itself under its bylaws and separated from the for-profit retailer. This initiative was spearheaded by Madonna Coffman, a retired cardiac nurse who had a great deal of volunteer experience working for not-for-profits in the surrounding Palm Beach area.
When Mrs. Coffman was in her 20’s she developed alopecia after receiving a hepatitis vaccination. With medications, she recovered. 15 years later, her 4-year old daughter developed alopecia and lost all of her hair. Madonna said it was difficult to deal with her hair loss, but her daughter’s loss was ten times harder. It was at this time that she quit all other charity work and took on Locks of Love as a full time volunteer cheered on by her daughter’s recovery as her inspiration.
For some time the contents of Mrs. Coffman’s garage contained bins of mail and hair donations. After finally securing donated office space from a local hospital and locating a manufacturer of the highest quality prosthetics, Locks of Love was off and running. Since the beginning, the charity has received a great deal of support by both the media and its volunteers throughout the country. The number of hairpieces provided has increased significantly since its inception.
Locks of Love has recipients in all 50 states and Canada and is working towards its goal to help every financially disadvantaged child suffering from long-term hair loss. Donations from children like Rockford’s own Haveman sisters are making that goal possible.