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Sharing what's shorn

(ran PW, PS editions of Pasco Times)

A Homosassa woman's hair will be used in wigs for children with hair loss.

For Chris Kline of Homosassa, the shearing of nearly 20 years of hair growth meant one thing: "Freedom!"

"This is so-o-o cool," exclaimed Kline, swinging her head. "I can move my head without hitting myself in the face (with her hair)."

On Thursday, Kline, 48, met with Willye Mieras, co-owner of Dream Weavers hair salon in Inverness, and did what she had thought was unthinkable for so many years. She had her long, light auburn hair bobbed.

Mieras was so glad to help Kline that he did the deed for free. They had one objective: a donation of virgin hair to Locks of Love, a non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children 18 and under who suffer from long-term medical hair loss.

Mieras has been involved with the program for about eight months. Kline heard about it during a segment of The Rosie O'Donnell Show.

Mieras had a box with a rainbow of chestnut brown, raven black and pale blond hanks of hair ready to go, just waiting for Kline's ponytail to complete the set.

Because it takes 12 ponytails to make one hairpiece, Kline's hair will join hair from other donors to supply a custom-made, vacuum-cap hairpiece to a financially disadvantaged child. Because of the care needed to handle a real-hair prosthesis, they are only available to children between 8 and 18. Younger children receive synthetic wigs.

Kline said she was scared as she settled into the chair.

"Will I recognize myself?" she asked Mieras as he brushed her hair and fashioned it into a ponytail. Her question brought a laugh from everyone in the salon, but Mieras reassured Kline that she would not only recognize herself, she would like what she saw.

As scissors reaped the prize that would join the others Mieras was sending to the South Florida group, Kline discovered that the hair loss wasn't such a bad thing after all. Her naturally curly hair sprang back to life.

She did have some regrets.

"I don't know what my cats are going to think," she said. She said they had enjoyed sleeping on her hair as it lay splayed across her pillow. It was also something of a toy for them, as they would knead it and chase it.

But regrets passed quickly as Kline recalled the 20 minutes or more it took her to prepare for washing her hair, followed by another 15 to 20 minutes to wash it. And drying it was a long process.

"Drying would take all night," said Kline. "And it would still be wet when I got up the next day."

Leaving the salon, Kline was elated when a brisk breeze caught at the curls that now bounced around her shoulders.

"Now I can keep the windows open (in her car)."

Locks of Love

Locks of Love is a non-profit organization that provides hairpieces across the United States to financially disadvantaged children 18 and under suffering from long-term medical hair loss.

Guidelines for donating hair are:

+ The donated hair must be at least 10 inches (preferably 12 inches) in length.

+ It must be bundled in a pony tail or braid.

+ It must be free of damagefrom chemical processing.

+ It must be clean and dry, placed in a plastic bag and mailed in a padded envelope to: Locks of Love, 1640 S Congress Ave., Suite 104, Palm Springs, FL 33461.

For information about Locks of Love, write the above address, call (561) 963-1677, fax (561) 963-9914, visit http://www.locksoflove.org or e-mail infolocksoflove.org.

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