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Cpl. Aaron Rooks, 2nd Marine Logistics Group
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — 1/5/2009
Two female Marines from the 2nd Marine Logistics Group came together this holiday season to donate more than 26 inches of hair to financially disadvantaged children.
Cpl. Kendra Hernandez, a legal clerk with Headquarters and Service Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 27, 2nd MLG, and Cpl. Kimberly Pike, an administrative clerk with the 2nd MLG Administrative Section, cut off 14 and 12 inches of their hair respectively to give to Locks for Love.
The non-profit organization provides hair pieces to children under the age of 18 who suffer from long-term medical hair loss. According to Locks for Love, recipients suffer primarily from an autoimmune disorder called alopecia areata, which causes hair follicles to shut down. In addition to loss of scalp hair, many lose their eyelashes, eyebrows and all body hair.
“It benefits kids and young adults,” said Pike, a native of Wilson, N.C. “I wanted to cut my hair anyway, so this was a great way for me to help another person in need.”
Donations from individuals like these Marines have contributed to Locks for Love helping more than 2,000 children to date throughout all 50 states and Canada. With continued support, the organization will move closer to its goal of helping “every financially disadvantaged child suffering from long term hair loss.”
The organization also strives to return a sense of self-confidence and normalcy to children affected by hair loss. Many children are embarrassed about their conditions and receive ridicule from others growing up, often withdrawing themselves from normal childhood and adolescent activities, according to the organization’s website.
This loss of self-confidence and normalcy in others was what motivated Hernandez to grow her hair as long as possible with the plan of donating. The Powell, Wyo. native said she originally had 10 inches of hair, which is the minimum for donating. She wanted to be sure that the organization would have enough hair to help someone, so she chose to grow an extra four inches those next two months.
“Children are afraid of what they don’t know,” said Pike, mother of a 15-month-old daughter. “Most children won’t understand what’s wrong with children suffering from hair loss and therefore won’t interact with them.”
The two Marines agreed that it would be easy for other female Marines to donate because of how often they cut their hair to shorter lengths. They hope that others will see their efforts and join in to help others in need.