JACKSON, Tenn. (BP)–Connie Cooper wanted to cut her hair. Instead of rushing to the beauty salon, she decided to do a little research to determine exactly what style she desired. As she was contemplating her options, Cooper remembered a magazine article she read years ago about a young girl who lost all of her hair due to a medical problem.
Cooper, who is entering her senior year at Union University in Jackson, Tenn., logged onto the Internet to search for an organization that could help her donate her hair, which led her to Locks of Love, based in Lake Worth, Fla. Locks of Love is a nonprofit group dedicated to assisting children under the age of 18 with long-term total hair loss to obtain custom hairpieces.
Cooper’s Internet search took place when she had nine inches of hair, so she decided to wait until it had grown to 10 inches before she cut it for a donation. A long three months took place between her initial decision to cut and the day she actually sat down in the beautician’s chair.
“When we began putting my hair in ponytails to cut off, I changed my mind,” Cooper recalls. “I told the stylist to cut off as much hair as she could and still have me look like a girl.”
Thirteen inches later, Cooper not only has the shortest hair she’s ever had in her life, but her hair is on its way to making some little girl very happy.
Being a part of Acteens as a teenager spurred Cooper’s love for children. It was during her days as an Acteen member that she learned the importance of serving others in various ways. Acteens is a missions organization sponsored by Woman’s Missionary Union for girls in grades seven through 12.
“Acteens helped me recognize needs and find any ways in my power to meet those needs. This includes meeting a child’s need for a wig,” Cooper said. “Acteens helped me realize that I am not the most important thing in the world. Worshiping God is.”
Cooper currently serves as children’s ministry intern at West Jackson Baptist Church and assists in the Girls in Action group there.
“I love sharing with them ways that missionaries are sharing the gospel all over the world and ways that they can share with people all around them,” she said.
Cooper’s 13-inch ponytail will join approximately 10 to 15 other donated ponytails to make a custom-fitted hairpiece for a child. Children who make their request through Locks of Love receive their hairpieces in about four months, said Jennifer Cox, executive director of Locks of Love. Since the organization began in December 1997, Locks of Love has helped more than 800 children.
For more information about the Locks of Love organization, contact them toll-free at 1-888-896-1588 or www.locksoflove.org. Information about Acteens can be found at www.acteens.com.
Gish is a freelance writer in Medina, Ohio. (BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: BEFORE & AFTER.