Williamstown's Benjamin Hynes displays the ponytail he cut off to send to the Locks of Love program.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Benjamin Hynes wanted a new look.
And he was able to put his old locks to good use.
Hynes, a rising sophomore at Mount Greylock Regional High School, had been growing his hair out since the fifth grade. But this summer, he tired of the pony tail.
"I decided it was time to cut it, and I didn't want it to go to waste," he said.
Fortunately, he knew about the Locks of Love program from some friends who had donated their hair. So rather than trash his tresses, he saved them, and this week he will send them off to the Florida-based non-profit.
Locks of Love requires donations to be at least 10 inches long. Hynes' hair was 17 inches when he decided to try a more well-shorn look.
According to its website, Locks of Love was founded in 1998 by Modonna Coffman after her 4-year-old daughter developed alopecia, an autoimmune condition that causes hair loss.
Locks of Love's mission is "to return a sense of self, confidence and normalcy to children suffering from hair loss by utilizing donated ponytails to provide the highest quality hair prosthetics to financially disadvantaged children."
Beneficiaries, all under age 21, receive hair prostheses free of charge or at a reduced charge based on financial need, according to locksoflove.org
Although hair loss can be caused by chemotherapy, most Locks of Love recipients are bald because of alopecia areata
, an incurable autoimmune disorder.
Hynes said he was not thinking about Locks of Love when he started letting his hair grow. It just sort of happened. But he was glad that his contribution will help a child somewhere.
Spring Street barber Roger St. Pierre did the honors last Thursday.
Hynes said he probably will not wait so long before his next trip to the barber shop.
"I think I'm done with that now," he said.