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Her donation will help children who have undergone chemotherapy.



Published: Thu, January 13, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Her donation will help children who have undergone chemotherapy.

nip, clip, snip.

Starr Flores held her breath as nearly 3 feet of her long, dark hair fell to the salon floor.

For eight years, the 24-year-old Boardman woman had been growing her knee-length tresses, but now she was braving a cut so she could donate her mane to the charitable organization Locks of Love.

"I am speechless. I feel like a brand-new person," Flores said moments after the hair-razing moment, which took place Wednesday morning at Marlo & amp; Maxx salon in Boardman.

The decision

Flores decided about four years ago that she wanted to give her hair to Locks of Love, a Florida-based organization that uses donated hair to make wigs for children who have undergone chemotherapy.

"I just decided I wanted to share what God gave me," Flores said.

Before the haircut, Flores said she turned down offers to sell her hair.

"I am part Native American, and so my hair is very dark, very healthy and very straight," Flores said.

Marlo & amp; Maxx stylist Karin Bernard, who cut Flores' hair, said her hair was perfect for a Locks of Love donation.

"Her hair was ideal for donating because it has never been treated with any chemicals, and Locks of Love will only accept hair that has never been chemically treated," Bernard said.

Of course, besides being beautiful, Flores' long hair was also very cumbersome and hard to take care of.

"It got to the point where it was painful. I was getting headaches and knotted muscles in my neck. I am a survivor of domestic violence, so I have problems with my neck anyway," Flores said.

"Also I had to wash my hair every day because it is oily, so taking care of it was a lot of work."

Flores even had to sleep in an upper bunk bed and let her long hair hang over the edge, something that sometimes bothered her roommate sleeping in the lower bunk.

"My roommate would say, 'Starr, your hair is in the way again,'" Flores said.

The new look

Flores' new haircut is shoulder length with layers around the face.

Bernard said the new look really suits Flores' "petite frame and cute personality."

"She was just lost under all of that hair," said Bernard, who was in awe of Flores' hair the first time she saw it.

"I first met Starr when she was waiting tables at the Flaming Ice Cube. She asked me if I could cut her hair, and I said, 'Sure. Give me a call.' She had her hair up then, and I had no idea at the time that it was so long."

From crown to knees, Flores' hair measured 42 inches before the cut. Bernard divided Flores' hair into three sections before making the cut.

"I had to divide it into three ponytails because there was so much of it. It was too bulky to cut it any other way," Bernard said.

Flores' donation to Locks of Love could result in as many as three wigs.

"It's wonderful because three children could benefit from this donation," Bernard said. "Locks of Love usually needs about 10 inches of hair per wig."

Wigs made from lush, healthy human hair such as Flores' can sell for as much as $500 each, Bernard said.

Background

Originally from California, Flores has lived in Ohio for about four years and is a communications major at Youngstown State University and a waitress and cook at the Flaming Ice Cube in Boardman.

Flores hopes her new haircut will help her look more professional so she can land a job in communications after she graduates from YSU in August.

Flores also views the haircut as the first page in a new chapter in her life.

"I prayed before the haircut. I was nervous to have it done, but now I look and feel fantastic," Flores said. "Our hair does kind of make our day good or bad, but I have a lot more to offer than just my hair."

XFor more information about Locks of Love, visit www.locksoflove.org.




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