It started with a suggestion months ago. About November to be more exact.

The idea grew on the group, much like the hair on their heads. And, in fact, that’s what the idea involved.

Five co-workers from Blue Valley Vet Clinic in Beatrice were in Wilber early morning Monday, Jan. 10, to all have their hair cut at Karen’s Salon on the town’s main street.

But it wasn’t just a needed style change the five were looking for, but a chance to help others.

The co-workers were in Wilber to have their hair cut for Locks of Love.

Locks of Love is a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under age 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis.

According to the organization’s website, it meets a unique need for children by using donated hair to create the highest quality hair prosthetics.

Most of the children helped by Locks of Love have lost their hair due to a medical condition called alopecia areata, which has no known cause or cure. The prostheses are provided to help to restore their self-esteem and their confidence, enabling them to face the world and their peers.

Emily Haxby of Clatonia was the instigator when it came to getting her friends and co-workers to donate their hair.

Haxby said she donated hair to Locks of Love for the first time when she was a sophomore at Tri County High School.

That was February 2008.

“I decided to donate my hair, because I can grow it back,” Haxby said. “Other people need it.”

Since then, Haxby has donated four more times, including Monday, in June 2009, May 2011 and November 2012.

Initially, Haxby said she just heard about Locks of Love and decided to donate.

Sebek has cut Haxby’s hair each time she has donated.

“The client makes the decision,” Sebek said about donating. “I have lots of little girls too, who come in and say I’m going to grow my hair for Locks of Love.

“I encourage them, because I think it’s something neat they can do.”

Sebek said when an individual knows they’re helping somebody look and feel better, it gives them a good feeling.

“It’s a great reward to the donor, as well,” Sebek said.

Sebek said she has a granddaughter who is growing her hair out for Locks of Love currently.

“She’s only 8 years old and I’m pretty proud of her, too,” Sebek said.

While Sebek has cut others hair for Locks of Love, she said she’s never had a group of friends all at the salon at one time.

“I was really excited when I heard that we were to get to do four or five of them,” Sebek said. “It’s going to be one of those days that I’ll always remember.”

Haxby said it normally takes about a year and about four months to grow her hair long enough to donate.

Going from long hair in a pony tail to a shorter-then-shoulder-length style isn’t always easy, but Haxby said it’s worth it.

“It will grow back,” Haxby said. “And it’s a little cooler in the summer, too, when it’s shorter.

“My hair grows like crazy.”

Haxby admitted, however, it’s always a little “worrisome” when Sebek makes the first cuts.

“It’s always something to get used to again,” Haxby said.

In order for donated hair to be used to make hairpieces by Locks of Love, it must be a minimum of 10 inches in length.

Shorter hair is also accepted by the organization and sold to off-set costs of making the hairpieces.

Monday, Haxby donated 10 ½ inches.

Haxby brought up the idea of donating to Locks of Love to who co-workers, but needed to wait a while for her own hair to get long enough.

At first, the group planned to cut their hair in January and then February.

Several of Haxby’s co-workers wanted to cut their hair now, so she decided to go ahead.

“I was thinking a couple of months from now,” Haxby said, “but I knew they all had long hair and wanted it cut. They were ready now.”

The five co-workers represent all the female employees at the vet clinic.

Haxby said most of them went for the idea from the start.

“We had one we’re still trying to convince, but overall everybody was really excited about it,” Haxby said.

And they did convince her, so all five co-workers had their hair cut.

By the time they had all arrived, Jennafer Glaesemann, veterinarian and owner of the clinc, along with Haxby, Ashley Churchill, Callyn Schuck and Dawn Edgerton.

Glaesemann not only donated hair, herself, but gave the rest of the group the morning off so they could all go together.

“I think some of us had been previous Locks of Love donors before,” Glaesemann said. “It just so happened we all had hair long enough to do it at the same time.

“It was more a go-with-the-crowd thing. I was going to get my hair cut anyway.”

Glaesemann said she wouldn’t however, have gotten her hair cut as short if she was just doing it on her own. She ended up donating 12 inches of hair.

The only other time Glaesemann donated to Locks of Love it was spurred on by the death of her roommate’s mother to breast cancer in 2011.

“It will grow back,” Glaesemann said. “I’m fine with this.”

Churchill said Monday was her first time donating to Locks of Love.

“I used to have short air and then I grew it out,” Churchill said. “This will be different as I’ve had long hair for years.”

Locks of Love is a good cause, Churchill said, which is what prompted her to make the donation.

Calynn Schuck said she “inherited the trip” to Wilber as plans were already in works when she joined the vet clinic staff.

“I had my hair grown out, because I got married in August,” Schuck said. “I talked about cutting it a while after that, but Emily talked me in to waiting

“I got on the band wagon.”

Schuck said she’s had a “love-hate relationship” with her long hair.

“Mostly I hate it,” Schuck said. “I’m looking forward to having it cut. This is a little short, normally I go shoulder length, but it’s for a good cause.”

Dawn Edgerton of Adams was the reluctant one to start with, but showed up Monday and had her hair cut.

“My boss and my good friend Emily made me do it,” Edgerton said, laughing. “I’m willing to make a sacrifice for the cause.”

Edgerton said she’s had long hair for 16 years.

Even though she was giving the others a bad time, she said that’s her job as the “joker” in the group.

By the time they were finished, the group had 54 ½ inchs of hair to donate.

Churchill was declared “the winner” by her friends as she donated 14 inches.

Donations to Locks of Love are all anonymous and Haxby said she doesn’t know anyone who has received a hairpiece from the organization.

Haxby said she has received thank-you postcards in the past from the group.

The hairpieces are made from up to seven different people’s donations, Haxby said.

After the morning at the salon, Haxby’s first stop was going to be the post office so she could put the hair in the mail to Locks of Love.

For those wanting to donate themselves to Locks of Love instructions and paperwork are available online at locksoflove.org.

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