Haylee Kropp, a senior at Cut Bank High School, has had long, beautiful hair for quite some time. She likes long hair. However, she likes the idea of being able to help kids even more. So, Haylee cut 11 and a half inches off her hair and now she is hoping others will do the same, all to help the kids in a program called Children With Hair Loss.
Haylee, the daughter of Mark and Jill Kropp, started working with Children With Hair Loss as part of her Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) project. The idea behind this was for her to find a project she could involve the community in, that would ultimately give back something to someone else or to another organization.
“I started doing some research on different organizations I could get involved with for my project with FCCLA and came across Children With Hair Loss. They are a nonprofit organization that accepts hair donations and then in turn, makes hairpieces or wigs for kids that are either losing their hair or have lost all their hair. It is a pretty great organization,” Haylee explained.
To get the ball rolling, Haylee went and had her own hair cut. The stylist she saw in Great Falls, took 11 and a half inches of her long tresses, banded it and sealed it into a bag. That bag and 73 others is what Haylee has already collected since starting this project a short time ago.
“I have spoken to three hair salons here in Cut Bank–The Mane Concern, The Hairport and Naturally Curly and some in Great Falls, Shelby and Conrad–who agreed they would talk to their clients and if they are cutting their hair, they will save it for me for Children With Hair Loss,” she said.
Children With Hair Loss requires a minimum of eight inches of hair and it must be banded and then sealed into a plastic bag. Unlike some other organizations that do similar hair collections, Children With Hair Loss will accept all types of hair, even that which has been chemically treated, permed or colored.
Once this organization receives the hair, they make hair pieces or wigs for children and they are all free of charge.
Children With Hair Loss helps children of all ages, up to 21 years old. All eligible recipients will receive a new hair piece once a year until they reach 21 years old.
According to the Children With Hair Loss website, “When a child’s hair is lost due to cancer treatments, Alopecia, Trichotillomania, burns, or other rare diseases or disorders, the painful effects are far deeper than just cosmetic.”
To date, they have provided customized human hair replacements and care kits to over 300 children a year since starting in the fall of 2000.
“When doing my research, I found this site for Children With Hair Loss and it showed this kid that had lost all confidence because of the hair loss. And then it showed the same kid after getting hair and the transformation was amazing. It made me think this was the right organization to partner with for my FCCLA project,” shared Haylee.
She called the organization and got all the information she needed and then began turning the hair collection into her FCCLA project.
“I will be collecting hair until late February or early March and then I will send it all to the organization,” she said.
Part of the process for making this her FCCLA project, was to keep accurate documentation on everything she is doing. Once she has all of that accomplished, she turns it into a presentation that she and fellow FCCLA students will make at the state FCCLA convention in Bozeman in mid-March. If she places first or second at the state level, she could take her presentation to the national level.
But first things first. For now, she is determined to collect as much hair as she can to help Children With Hair Loss. That goal, in her eyes, is much more important than her FCCLA project.
“I really like the idea of helping kids that have hair loss issues. That is what this is really all about,” she said.
Haylee’s desire to help kids extends beyond what she is doing for her FCCLA project. Her long-range plan is to become a pediatric oncologist and continue helping kids, this time with the disease that could take more than just their hair.
“I am planning on going to Montana Tech for pre-med classes this coming fall and then off to another college a bit later for medical school,” she said.
The motto of Children With Hair Loss is, “Covering young heads to heal young hearts.”
Haylee plans on doing just that and with the donations she has so far, she is well on her way.