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Using Her Head

With summer haircut, 12-year-old sends 17 inches of hair to Locks of Love.

“She was never a bald baby,” Kathy Burns said, laughing, remembering her daughter Lily Ramey as an infant. Lily, who just finished her sixth-grade year at Blessed Sacrament School on Braddock Road, still has plenty of hair — she’s been sporting a new shoulder-length cut the past few weeks, after cutting off 17 inches of hair and donating it to Locks of Love.

“My hair was originally two feet long, but I cut off 17 inches,” Lily explained.

“At first when I was little, I just wanted to let my hair grow out,” she said. But lately, she has been affected by more practical concerns. “It was just really long, and it was so hot in the summer.” She had heard about the Locks of Love program because some of her friends had donated hair to the organization, which provides hairpieces to children in the United States and Canada with medical hair loss.

“I thought it would be a cool idea to do it too,” Lily said. “It’s like helping others in need. They don’t have a lot.”

Burns said she and Steve Ramey, Lily’s father, were impressed with Lily making the decision to donate her hair. “She’s talked about this off and on for several weeks. When she makes up her mind, she usually follows through,” Burns said.

They are also impressed with the generosity behind Lily’s decision. “I think it just magnifies the gift, to give a part of yourself, and do the follow-through,” Burns said. “We all want children who are kind and generous and loving, and there’s nothing better than seeing them turn out like that.”

Her parents talked her into waiting for the big trim until the end of the sports season — Lily plays softball and lacrosse — and then took her to Nora La Forest, who has cut Lily’s hair for over a decade.

“I don’t think she was really that surprised,” Lily said. “I think she knew I was going to cut it sooner or later.”

Burns agreed: “Nora, I think, was more excited than Lily.”

The haircut has been a success, both for whoever will get the hair from the Locks of Love program, and for Lily herself.

“I was pretty excited and happy just to have it off. I think I want to keep it this length,” she said. Her friends, who got to see her new style at a day at the water park to celebrate the end of school, had mixed feelings, because they had admired her two feet of hair for so long. “They’re like, ‘Lily, it was so cool,’” she said. But the cut has its perks too: “They say it makes me look older.”

Lily’s parents noticed the change as well. “Because she’s tall she does look older,” Burns said. “It changes a person’s personality when you have a new haircut.”