When 13-year-old Breanna Elliott decided to cut her hair, her mother suggested she donate the beautiful locks to an organization that makes wigs for children who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy, radiation treatments, alopecia, burns, or other medical circumstances.

Friday, the Quapaw 8th grader walked into a local salon with hair to her waiste and came out with a new look and a braided ponytale in hand.

“We orignially intended donating the hair to Locks of Love,” said Peggy Elliott, Breanna’s mother. “But the beautician told us about Wigs for Kids and that’s who we decided to give her hair to.”

Wigs for Kids is a private non-profit organization, relying soley on donations. Through caring companies, foundations, groups and individuals, they are able to provide complementary hair replacement systems to children who would otherwise not be able to afford them.

“The way I understand it, people have to pay for the wigs from Locks of Love, but Wigs for Kids donates them to children who need them,” said Peggy Elliott.

When children lose their hair, whether as a result of medical treatments, health conditions, or burn accidents, they don't just suffer physically.

The change in their appearance can drastically undermine their self-image and sabotage their self-esteem. To combat this additional trauma, Certified Cosmetic Therapist Jeffrey Paul founded Wigs for Kids, and has been serving children suffering from hair loss since 1980.

Each year hundreds of children apply for financial assistance to help with a hair system. The cost of one hairpiece can range from $1,800 to $3,000. It takes 20 to 30 ponytails to create one hairpiece.

To donate hair, it must be a minimum of 12 inches of clean dry hair, braided tightly. Hair that has been chemically processed - permed, colored or highlighted - cannot be used.

Hair must be placed in a plastic bag, then sealed in a mailing envelope. To donate, send hair to Wigs for Kids, 24231 Center Ridge Road, Westlake, Ohio 44145. Contact them at 440-333-4433.