A person’s identity is one’s outward appearance as it is what others see first. Through the ages from Samson when Delilah cut off his hair weakening his strength to now as hair makes a statement about the person. We have seen dreadlocks, crimped, curled, straightened hairstyles and some that make a person say ‘hmmm’. Then there are those who have lost their hair due to an illness, especially women; they will wear scarves, bandanas and slouchy snoods and wigs.
Rebecca Whiznant, a senior at Loris High School, decided just before Christmas 2018 that she was going to donate her hair. “I figured why waste all this hair,” she said, “I could give it to another person who is in need of it.” She had 12 inches cut to donate to Locks of Love.
Whiznant’s hair flowed down her back to her waist, shiny and silky and smooth which is the perfect hair to make a wig. She said that she had not cut her hair since she was in the 7th grade; however, she kept it trimmed. Her regiment for hair care is washing it every other day and makes sure she uses leave-in conditioner. She said, “I do not use a lot of heat on my hair, and when I do I use a heat protectant product.”
It was immediately obvious the weight of the hair had lightened, and the 12 inches was a bit of a surprise, with any significant amount of loss comes immediate regret. It did not take Whiznant long to overcome the emotions that come with a new hair cut; her family and friends shared with her how wonderful she is to have made this wonderful decision.
“After I cut my hair I did have some regrets,” she said, “but I knew it was for a good cause so once I did it I knew I could not change anything.” She further stated that she will donate her locks again.She said, “I will let my hair grow again and once it is long enough I will make another donation which will probably be while I am in college.”
Whisnant is the daughter of Stephen and Sherry Whiznant (Mr. and Mrs. Whiz), band and orchestra directors at Loris Middle School and Loris High School. She plays the tuba in the band and in the Loris Lions Marching Band. She has a family base background of love and discipline, who never felt the pangs of parents being teachers at her school; The Whiz’s have earned a great respect and love with the students, faculty and staff at the schools and throughout the community.
There are guidelines for measuring and cutting hair for a donation. Making sure the hair is a minimum of 12 inches. The length most requested from children wanting wigs is 15 inches. The hair must be clean and dry and put in a ponytail measuring from the start of the ponytail before cutting. Hair that has been permed, color-treated or highlighted cannot be used; however, temporary color treatment or highlights that wash out are acceptable. And grey hair is accepted as well. Before mailing the hair for donation several bands are placed around the hair to keep it in place.
Locks of Love says a hair piece has a retail value of $3,500 to $6,000 with a cost of $1,000 to make a wig. They ask for a monetary donation along with the hair being donated to defer the cost of making the wigs.
Whisnant is one of many who grows her hair and donates it for a good cause. “Such a great thing to do;” says Pat Davis, a friend of Whiznant. “Bald is beautiful on a person battling cancer.” Davis stated once a year a family member donates her hair for someone who has had to battle cancer and lose their hair.
For the many youth who are facing life without hair until their hair grows back is devastating. The wigs bring back confidence and the feeling of beauty.