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Story - News

Aug 5, 2009 11:29 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Westhampton's Rapunzel donates her hair to Locks of Love

Aug 5, 2009 11:29 AM

By Jessica DiNapoli

Until this week, Westhampton resident Clarissa McClure could easily have been mistaken for Rapunzel with her long, platinum-blonde hair that has never been snipped with a pair of scissors—not even for a trim.

But Clarissa chopped off 32 inches of her golden mane on Tuesday, her sixteenth birthday, and donated it to Locks of Love, a non-profit organization that provides human-hair wigs to children suffering from permanent hair loss. Now, instead of a fairy tale princess, Clarissa resembles a modern girl—even a celebrity starlet—sporting a short blonde bob parted on the side, with wispy bangs.

“I love it,” Clarissa said Wednesday morning, after her haircut. “It’s absolutely amazing and I can’t stop running my fingers through it.

“Since I was a little girl, I liked it long,” Clarissa said Monday, when her hair still hung below her hips. “My Mom likes it that way, so I figured when I was around 10 that I would grow it for Locks of Love.”

Alayna Carrasquillo, who owns The Glamour Spot on Nesconset Highway in Mount Sinai, cut Clarissa’s hair Tuesday evening. Carol McClure, Clarissa’s mother, explained that she had gotten haircuts from Ms. Carrasquillo for more than 10 years when she worked at The Lemon Tree in Riverhead.

“I had always gone to her, and always talked to her about Clarissa’s hair,” Ms. McClure said. “She’s such a sweet, compassionate person.”

Ms. McClure said that although Ms. Carrasquillo left The Lemon Tree to open The Glamour Spot about 18 months ago, she had kept her business card and decided to call her when the time came to cut Clarissa’s hair.

Ms. Carrasquillo said hearing from Ms. McClure brought tears to her eyes. She said she was honored to be able to give Clarissa her first haircut and added that donating the strands to Locks of Love made the event even more special.

“It makes my job worth it,” said Ms. Carrasquillo, who has done Locks of Love haircuts in the past.

Clarissa said she wanted to cut her hair on her birthday because it signals her entrance into adulthood.

“Your sixteenth birthday is a transition into getting older, so I figured I would do it that day,” she said.

Clarissa’s father, David, said his daughter, who was born with a thick head of hair, often keeps her blonde locks in a bun. He said he will miss his daughter’s long hair, but noted the practical benefits of her decision, too.

“She uses lots of conditioner and we get a lot of clogged drains,” Mr. McClure said. “I won’t be missing that.”

To cut her hair, Ms. Carrasquillo said she pulled Clarissa’s locks into a tight ponytail and chopped it off right below an elastic band. Then, Ms. McClure said, she tied the cut hair together, as per the Locks of Love guidelines, and placed it in a large plastic bag. She then placed the bag in an envelope and mailed it to the non-profit’s headquarters in West Palm Beach, Florida. Clarissa said she gave her contact information to Locks of Love, so she can hear from the child who receives her hair.

According to the Locks of Love website, once donated hair is received, it is used to make high-quality hairpieces for children under the age of 18 who have permanent hair loss due to an autoimmune disorder called alopecia areata, which causes the hair follicles to shut down. There is no known cause or cure for the condition. The hairpieces, which typically cost between $3,500 and $6,000, are then donated to children, the website states.

The organization notes that the hairpieces feature a vacuum seal that functions like a suction cup and does not require children to tape or glue them to their scalps. The vacuum seal can be broken and the hairpiece removed only by tugging at the temples.

Before chopping off her locks Tuesday, Clarissa reminisced about having the longest hair of anyone she has ever known.

“All my friends really liked it,” she said. “But they’re excited I’m getting it cut.”

Clarissa’s father said his daughter’s long locks posed a minor problem whenever the two would go scuba diving together. If hair gets caught between her face and mask, water can seep in, he explained. As a result, Clarissa would have to shove all of her hair into her wet suit to prevent water from entering her mask.

“It’s a pain,” Clarissa said, adding that she and her father have gone scuba diving in Moriches Bay, Key West, Florida, and Dutch Springs, Pennsylvania.

The McClures said they are very proud of their daughter and her decision to donate her hair to Locks of Love.

“I’m very glad she’s cutting it,” Ms. McClure said, sharing her husband’s sentiment. “And to give it to charity is a wonderful thing.”

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A heartwarming story, especially when one considers that Clarissa has been planning this for six years. You could have provided more photographs of the girl. though.
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Aug 5, 09 3:33 PM
Now that's "sacrifice!"

A good example of selflessness, Clarissa.
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Aug 5, 09 8:56 PM
What a great kid, her parents should be very proud!
By Terry (380), Southampton on Aug 5, 09 10:06 PM
Clarissa - This is such a wonderful thing you've done and your new haircut is beautiful!
By rraynor (4), Westhampton on Aug 6, 09 9:52 AM
Clarissa, I have shared this wonderful story with my children. You are an inspiration.
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Aug 6, 09 6:21 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By North of Highway (280), Westhampton Beach on Aug 7, 09 9:50 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Hampton West (5), westhampton beach on Aug 7, 09 9:52 AM
Bravo Clarissa... bravo!!!! I am proud you are my Antonia's friend... Happy, happy 16th!!!!!
By Pocholo (13), Westhampton on Aug 14, 09 8:13 AM
Good job Clarissa !
By PrivateerMatt (390), Weesuck Creek , EQ on Aug 14, 09 7:43 PM