Locks of Love

DOWNEY - Measuring more than 11 inches, the golden tresses of 10-year-old Hunter Skill are locks of love.Following in the footsteps of his idol, right winger George Parros of the NHL Anaheim Ducks, Hunter has been letting his hair grow. His tresses will be donated to Locks of Love, a non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to children suffering hair loss. Parros gets his hair shaved off annually to benefit the Childhood Leukemia Foundation. The retail cost of hair prosthetics range 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, who attends Ed C. Lewis Elementary School, started letting his hair grow about 18 months ago. "It takes some time to grow - it has to be at least 10 inches long," Hunter said. "And you have to deal with knots - lots of knots - but it's worth it." Sometimes mistaken for being a girl, Hunter laughs it off. "Waitresses especially think I'm a girl," he said. "What matters is my hair can help people with cancer. I have a favorite hockey player that did it so I wanted to do it." Hunter first became a fan of Parros after becoming a member of the Anaheim Ducks Wild Wingers Kids Club two years ago. "I even got his autograph on my shirt during a meet and greet," Hunter said. Johnny Croshaw from Johnny & Co. in Downey has volunteered to shave off Hunter's hair during a school assembly in February. The hair-cutting event is personally significant to Ed C. Lewis Elementary School Principal Robin Martin because she is a cancer survivor. "I definitely have to be there," Martin said. "I think it's a great thing to have a fifth grader care so much. Fifth graders often go off in their own world, but he is thinking of others." After Hunter gets his buzz cut, he plans on growing his hair long again. "I would still do it again knowing one life can make another life happy," he said. "It's easy - I'm just growing my hair." For more information about Locks of Love, e-mail info@locksoflove.org. ********** Published: January 23, 2009 - Volume 7 - Issue 40

Eric Pierce