Snipping locks to boost kids self-esteem

ALABASTER &8212; Thompson Middle School student Shelley Murrell decided she wanted a haircut for summer. But the 11-year-old&8217;s not just getting ready for hot weather &045;&045; she&8217;s also helping sick children feel better about themselves.

Murrell began growing her hair three years ago for Locks of Love, a non-profit organization that gives hairpieces to children with cancer or any other illness that causes long-term hair loss.

She had 12 inches of hair chopped off Thursday at Hair Dimensions in Alabaster and is excited about donating her brown locks to other children.

&8220;I&8217;m just happy they have something to be proud of so they don&8217;t feel ashamed of themselves,&8221; said Murrell. &8220;I just wanted to help.&8221;

The sixth-grader said she heard about Locks of Love from a relative and immediately asked her parents if she could participate.

&8220;She asked if it would be OK to do it,&8221; said mom Julie Shelley. &8220;It was all her own idea. We didn&8217;t push her to do it.&8221;

Her hair will now be gathered and mailed to Florida where it will be used in wigs and other prosthetics.

&8220;I&8217;m proud of her for wanting to do something for others,&8221; said dad Lt. Col. Stan Murrell.

&8220;I think it&8217;s a terrific example she&8217;s setting for other kids and adults.&8221;

Murrell said she will miss having long hair a little but anticipates one huge advantage with her now shoulder length hairdo &045;&045; a much easier time on the soccer field.

&8220;Sometimes it gets in my way,&8221; she said. &8220;Still, I think it would be fun to donate again some day.&8221;

Murrell is also a member of Thompson Middle School&8217;s choir and has an older brother, Charles, and an older sister, Catherine