Kelsey Huss has been cutting back since long before the recession, and she has no plans to stop.
As long as Huss’ hair keeps growing, so will her gifts to children in need. On March 12, the UNC Greensboro sophomore from Mint Hill got her hair cut and donated it to Locks of Love – a nonprofit that donates hairpieces to financially disadvantaged youths 21 or younger who have long-term medical hair loss – for the sixth time.
Locks of Love’s minimum donation length is 10 inches, so that’s more than 5 feet of hair Huss, 19, has donated since second grade.
“I’ve never heard of anyone doing that this many times,” she said. “I know I’ve encouraged a few people to get their hair cut because of that. I just find joy in doing it each time.”
There is no known record for the number of times someone has had his or her hair cut to donate. Businesses have gotten into the record book for hair donations: In 2007, the Mississippi Institute for Aesthetics, Nail and Cosmetology in Clinton, Miss., made Guinness World Records when it collected 107.4 pounds of hair in one day for the Pantene Beautiful Lengths campaign.
In 2000, a Fort Mill chiropractor approached Guinness to determine whether it could establish a record in the collection of ponytails for Locks of Love; the chiropractor had collected and documented more than 600. But Guinness decided not to list that particular collection as a category.
Huss’ donations began not too long after her mother, Carol Huss, read about Locks of Love in the newspaper. “She was in first grade or kindergarten, and she said she wanted to do it,” said Carol Huss, who has been with her daughter for all six cuts. “She was going to be in my brother’s wedding, so she wanted to wait until after the wedding for the first one.”
The first cut was in 2000; others were in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2011, and then again recently. All but one were at Two’s Company salon in Matthews, with the other at a Great Clips in Mint Hill.
“It’s my job to send off the hair after it’s cut,” said Kelsey Huss.
She said she usually gets her hair cut as soon as she reaches the 10-inch minimum, but ”sometimes I wait a little longer. The last time I gave locks, it was 12 inches. Usually, every two years I get it cut.
“I’ve been told that’s really fast. I know other people who have had their hair cut and it’s taken longer than that.”
Huss, an elementary education major with a concentration in math, said helping others is more important than worrying about whether she looks better with her hair long.
“It’s an adjustment, but I don’t do it for how I’m going to look. My hair grows like a weed, and this is something simple. … Besides, a lot of my friends prefer me with short hair. It’s nice. It makes me look older.”
Huss admitted she almost cut off her cutting streak.
“I thought for a while that my fifth time would be the last time I would get it cut, but I enjoy it so much that I don’t really want to stop,” she said. “Just knowing I have the ability to do this is awesome. It’s a very important aspect in my life that I would like to keep up.”
Her mother said she was glad Huss decided to keep the tradition alive. “Her dad and I are both very proud of her,” Carol Huss said. “She’s just a very unselfish person.”
Reid Creager is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Reid? Email him at email@example.com.
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