Locks of Love event set for April

BURGETTSTOWN, Pa. – Heaven hair salon will hold its ninth-annual Locks of Love fundraising event, beginning at 11 a.m., April 12 at the Pepsi-Cola Roadhouse located on state Route 18.

The event will include hair-cutting, massage therapy, a buffet, live musical entertainment, a cash bar, 50/50 drawings and a Chinese auction.

The buffet will be available from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and country band Ruff Creek will take the stage at 8 p.m. Mastro Ice Co. of Pittsburgh will donate an ice sculpture of the Locks of Love logo, which will be on display during the event.

Locks of Love is a nonprofit organization that provides wigs to children who have lost their own hair because of chronic illness. This local event is hosted by heaven co-owners and mother-daughter team JoAnn Alexy and April Alexy.

“Our goal is to raise even more money and cut more ponytails for this amazing organization,” stated April Alexy.

Those donating ponytails of 10 inches or longer will receive a free hair cut. The only requirements for donating hair is it must not be bleached. Grey hair is accepted, and men, women and children are welcome to donate. Stylists will be available from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and several local stylists have agreed to donate their services during the event. Cuts will be given on a first-come, first-cut basis.

“We’re thankful for the generosity from people and businesses in the area who help support the event,” said JoAnn Alexy.

Several massage therapists, including Nikki Cook of Nikki’s Magic Touch and Rose Marie Quader, will be available from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

All those who are not donating a ponytail pay a $10 cover charge, which includes either a hair cut or a back massage, the buffet and entertainment. The proceeds from the cover charge will be donated to Locks of Love.

The event will be child-friendly, with Rainbow the Clown entertaining from noon to 4 p.m. and the Easter Bunny available for pictures during that same period. Those wanting pictures are welcome to bring their own cameras. Those children 8 and under arriving at the event between noon and 4 p.m. will have a special 50 percent off cover charge of $5. There also will be a drawing for one of 30 children’s Easter baskets during the event and children’s prize giveaways.

The event also has a large Chinese auction, with more than 50 prizes being donated last year. The Alexys are accepting prize donations at the salon. Prizes include overnight hotel stays, four Pittsburgh Penguins tickets and gift certificates for upscale restaurants. Tickets are one for $1 or 15 for $10.

The event continues to get larger each year, having moved to the Roadhouse, its largest venue yet, three years ago. A video of last year’s event is available by searching “Locks of Love Pepsi Roadhouse 2013” at YouTube.com. Heaven hair salon and the annual fundraiser/ponytail-cutting event will be featured in Locks of Love’s spring newsletter.

Over the past eight years, the event has raised more than $18,000 and garnered 176 ponytails for Locks of Love. A wig costs around $3,500 to make or requires between six and 10 ponytails, meaning the event has helped in the distribution of at least 23 wigs.

The first year, there were two stylists and 10 ponytails were collected. Last year, the fundraiser raised a total of $5,600 for the charity and netted almost 40 ponytails. The event takes approximately three months to plan and 50 volunteers to pull off.

The Alexys are looking for have someone who has benefited through the Locks of Love program to speak at the event and talk about how the organization impacted their lives. Anyone who has received a wig through the organization is asked to contact the salon, if they are interested in speaking at the event.

Those who have had their hair cut elsewhere, but would like to donate it to Locks of Love, can drop off the bagged ponytail or braid at the salon during regular business hours.

Locks of Love organized as a nonprofit organization in 1997 under the direction of Madonna Coffman, a retired nurse who developed alopecia in her 20s after receiving a hepatitis vaccination. She was able to recover, but 15 years later, her 4-year-old daughter also developed alopecia and lost her hair. It was at this time Coffman directed all her volunteer efforts toward Locks of Love. The organization has recipients in all 50 states and Canada.

To make a donation toward the Chinese auction or for information, call the salon at (724) 947-7866.