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Locks of Love part of Jewish ritual

Emily Kelley
Vail, CO Colorado
Kristin Anderson/Vail DailyLeala King, 13, checks out her haircut after about a foot of it was cut off Monday at Hair West in Avon to donate to Locks of Love, which makes wigs for sick children.
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AVON ” Performing a selfless good deed was part of Leala King’s June 23 bat mitzvah celebration. In addition to learning Hebrew and planning a party, the 13-year-old, whose Hebrew name is Leah, cut and donated her hair to Locks for Love.

“My aunt has cancer, and she has a lot of wigs and I would rather give my hair to someone else instead of just cutting it,” Leala said.

Leala donated 10 inches of her long straight blondish-brown hair on Monday.

Locks of Love makes wigs for cancer patients from donated hair.

“Once they get it, the hair goes through quite a screening process” said Horgus, Leala’s one-named hairdresser at Hairwest in Avon.

The hair must be unprocessed and uncolored because of the sterilization process. “It’s very nice for you to do this for them,” said Horgus to the 8th grade charter school student as she sat in the hairdresser’s chair.

Debbie King, Leala’s mother, explained that it was her daughter’s decision to have a bat mitzvah ” the Jewish celebration of entering adulthood ” and donate her hair.

“She’s a very independent, happy girl,” she said. “It was her choice.”

Although Leala was donating her hair for a good cause, she did not arrive at the salon unprepared. She asked Horgus to give her side bangs and layers.

“I’m excited and nervous,” Leala said. “I’m used to having it straight and long.”

Horgus cut Leala’s bangs at her mouth so she can still tuck her hair behind her ears. “I didn’t like side bangs at first, but now I think they’re pretty cool,” Leala said.

Horgus called Leala’s hair, “dark blonde.” Leala laughed and said, “I do have my blonde moments.”

Leala grinned throughout the whole hour-long experience and even said “my jaw is sore from smiling.”

Leala , an Edwards native, wants her friends to get involved in Locks of Love.

“A lot of my friends have long hair and I’ve been telling them about it,” she said. “Hopefully when I go back to school, no one will recognize me.”

Leala heads to Austria on next as part of an exchange program, and she wants to convince her new friends to donate their hair also.

Horgus, armed with root boost spray and a hairdryer, gave King a new look the teenager said she loved. “I’ll probably go home and look in the mirror for an hour or so,” Leala said.

Chelsea Peluso, who works at Hairwest, told King, “it frames your face really nicely. It makes you look older.”

Leala said she loves her new, sophisticated doo. Now, she wants to “grow it out and donate it again,” she said.


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