Danielle DeSonia winced as the scissors sheared off a lock of hair, destined for a hairpiece creation by Locks of Love. Although Danielle, 15, hadn't cut her hair since elementary school, she realized that the hair was going to a good cause.
"At confirmation [years earlier] it was up here," she said, indicating shoulder length. "I don't want to cut that much off."
"That much" is 10 inches to be exact, the length that is required by the charitable organization, based in Florida. Locks of Love's mission statement, according to its Web site, is to be "a nonprofit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children across the U.S. under age 18 suffering from long-term medical hair loss." The long-term hair loss is from a medical condition called "alopecia areata," a disease with no known cure, according to the organization.
Donated locks must be a minimum of 10 inches long and be bundled, bagged and sent in a padded envelope. Hair swept off the floor is not acceptable. Robin DeSonia, Danielle's mother, was properly prepared with plastic bags in hand, when she and Danielle arrived at Jon David's salon in Springfield on the morning of Wednesday, May 7.
DeSonia suggested the idea to Danielle from an experience she had earlier with her own grandmother.
"My grandmother wore a wig for as long as I can remember," DeSonia said.
The idea sounded good to the Fairfax Station youth in the weeks preceding the event, but one look at the sun gleaming off the scissors made it a reality. She took the morning off from classes at Hayfield Secondary, where she is a sophomore, but classmates will get their chance to comment after lunch.
"They're going to see it today," she said.
With scissors in hand, David Bakir used his comb to measure the locks. He's had other Locks of Love customers in the past.
"The comb is six [inches]," Bakir said, as he prepared to cut.
Danielle's sister Nicole, 19, was chair-side, providing moral support.
"She's never had short hair since sixth grade," said Nicole DeSonia, a Hayfield Secondary graduate. "When I was in high school, I heard a couple of people doing it."
AFTER THE LOCKS were laid on the dressing table like a fisherman's trophy trout, Danielle was optimistic.
"It's actually not as much as I thought it was going to be," she said.
Her sister remembered Danielle’s justifying the whole thing the night before.
"It sounded like she was looking forward to it because she was talking about the different styles she was going to try," Nicole DeSonia said.
Robin DeSonia hoped that her daughter's charitable act would catch on with others.
"I hope we get a bunch of wigs made from it," Robin DeSonia said. "That's the idea."