Giving her own locks of love

At a time when most girls her age were worried about how to wear their hair, 9-year-old Katie Foust was more concerned about giving hers away.

On Nov. 12 the fourth-grader at Evangel Classical Christian School in Helena sat down for her first true haircut in three years.

Katie donated more than 12 inches of her hair to Locks of Love, a non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children suffering from long-term medical hair loss.

When she was in the first grade, Katie said she heard news anchor Brenda Ladun mention the program on the evening news.

&uot;I had just cut my hair when I heard about it (Locks of Love),&uot; she said. &uot;I said ‘darnit,’ because I wanted to do it and I just missed the chance.&uot;

Katie started growing her hair out that day, getting nothing more than the ends trimmed for the next three years.

&uot;She’s been pretty consistent with her goal,&uot; said her mother, Carol. &uot;Even in the summers when it was real hot she always said, ‘I’ve got to do this.’&uot;

Locks of Love accepts hair donations of 10 inches or longer to make hair prosthetics for children who have lost their hair.

Most of the children receiving the prosthetics suffer from alopecia areata, a medical condition causing hair loss that has no known cause or cure.

&uot;This has been a good experience for Katie to share a gift that she has been given with whoever needs it,&uot; Carol said. &uot;I admire her for it. I’m proud of her.&uot;

Katie has received support from her family, who lives in Alabaster, since she began growing her hair.

Her mother; father, Ty; and 6-year-old sister, Emily have helped her measure her hair while striving for the required 10 inches.

She also credits her teacher, Laurie Jill Keeler for inspiration in reaching her goal, as well as Evangel fifth-grade teacher, Cathy Justice, who is currently growing her hair out for the third time to donate to Locks of Love.

Katie said she would encourage other children to consider donating hair to Locks of Love.

&uot;I think they should do it because there are so many other kids out there who don’t have hair,&uot; she said.

Two girls in her Sunday school class at Oak Mountain Presbyterian are now participating in the program after hearing about it from Katie.

Katie’s desire to help others hasn’t changed, but her appearance has.

Her little sister said she looks &uot;completely different&uot; and her mother said that it seems she has a &uot;whole different attitude&uot; after she cut her hair.

How does Katie feel about her new hairdo?

&uot;It’s kinda weird and breezy, I’ll have to get used to it.

&uot;I don’t think my classmates will recognize me,&uot; Katie said. &uot;I just got a foot of my hair cut off.&uot;

While her friends and family may have a hard time recognizing her, they shouldn’t have any trouble seeing in Katie a geniune concern for other people.

For more information about Locks of Love call 1-888-896-1588 or visit their website at www.locksoflove.org