16 locks of love

DOWNEY - Ed C. Lewis Elementary School children watched with enthusiasm as teachers took turns cutting Hunter Skill's locks of hair during a school assembly Tuesday.Prior to Hunter's haircut, Principal Robin Martin spoke to the children about her personal experience as a cancer survivor. "There are many different ways you can help people with cancer," Martin said. "What Hunter is doing today is one of them." With his hair divided into 16 ponytails, Hunter's 11-inch tresses were snipped as donations to Locks of Love, a non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to children suffering hair loss. The cost of hair prosthetics ranges between $3,500 to $6,000, so Locks of Love provides the hairpieces to disadvantaged children free of charge or on a sliding scale, based on financial need. Hunter's grandmother Charmon Skill stood on the stage and carefully placed the ponytails into a plastic bag as they were cut. "We had to do multiple ponytails so they would all be at the length required to donate for a child's wig," Charmon said. "You can't just pull it into one ponytail and cut it." Hunter, age 10, had not had his hair cut in more than 18 months. He started letting his hair grow after learning that right winger George Parros of the Anaheim Ducks shaves his hair annually to benefit the Childhood Leukemia Foundation. Cheered on by his fellow students, Hunter said he was a little nervous. "My head's ticklish," he said. After the ponytail locks were cut, Hunter and his family moved off stage where Johnny & Co. stylist Gigi Maidlow shaved his remaining hair. "This is such a worthy cause and it's an honor to be here doing this for Locks of Love," Maidlow said. Now sporting a fresh buzz-cut, Hunter wants to start letting his hair grow again for another donation. "We are going to save so much money on conditioner, but I am flattered that he wanted to do such a random act of kindness," said his father Kevin Skill. His parents want to enjoy his new haircut for awhile. "He was constantly mistaken for a girl," said his mother Kelly Skill. "He was given My Little Pony girl toys at McDonalds - now he will be given the toys for boys again." ********** Published: February 6, 2009 - Volume 7 - Issue 42