Sunday school teacher and Harley rider grows his hair for a good causeDon’t judge a book by its cover. It’s a familiar adage, but Daryl Clark has frequently felt judged by others for his appearance. Clark, a 68-year-old retired construction electrician, has cut his hair only twice in the last decade – because he donates it to Locks of Love.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
Don’t judge a book by its cover.
It’s a familiar adage, but Daryl Clark has frequently felt judged by others for his appearance. Clark, a 68-year-old retired construction electrician, has cut his hair only twice in the last decade – because he donates it to Locks of Love.
On Sept. 3, four years after his first donation, Clark walked into The Hair Zone in Cloquet with a full gray beard and long, wavy auburn hair. He walked out clean shaven and well cropped, donating more than a foot of his hair to the
It is not often that salons see men in their 60s coming in to donate their hair, said Clark’s hairdresser Kelly Burggraff.
“He is the only male I know who does it,” she said.
The Hair Zone sees only five to six donations a year and the majority of those come from teenage girls.
“It’s just something I did,” Clark said about his decision to grow out his hair. The idea came after he and his grandson spoke to a woman who grew out her own hair for donation. The duo, both active in Cub Scouts, intended to do it as a project not realizing how long the process took. When they began, Clark’s grandson was only a “little Cub Scout.” When their hair was long enough to cut, he was nearly graduated out of the program.
Clark had a little under a foot of hair chopped off the first time during a Cub Scout picnic. While he sat on a stool, all the Cub Scouts gathered around to watch Burggraff make the cut, Clark said.
Although Clark never regretted growing out his hair and never considered cutting it prematurely, he admits long hair is sometimes hard to handle – especially for a Harley rider.
“It was hard to take care of,” Clark said. “Riding on a motorcycle, it just about ties itself in knots.”
Still, Clark let it grow, and even tucked it into his shirt when he was working construction to keep it out of the way.
While he knew his reasons for looking the way he did, Clark knows others have judged him for his long hair.
“When you’ve got real long hair … [people] look at you,” Clark said. “There will be guys whispering behind you, staying out of your way.”
Clark, a Sunday school teacher, once used this experience as a lesson to his class. He came to class on his Harley wearing grubby clothes with his hair up in a bandana. He told his students, “When you see someone like this, don’t look down on them. They might be someone else’s Sunday school teacher.”
Locks of Love is a non-profit organization that relies on donations from anyone and everyone, men and women, all colors and races. They make hairpieces for people under age 21 suffering from hair loss due to any diagnosis. According to the Locks of Love website, its mission is “to return a sense of self, confidence and normalcy to children suffering from hair loss by utilizing donated ponytails to provide the highest quality hair prosthetics to financially disadvantaged children.”
“I’ve been told, ‘Gee, you can sell that hair,’” Clark said.
He’d rather give it away for a cause.
“It takes a long time to grow it, but when you do it … you know you’ll be leaving something behind,” he said. “The neatest thing in the world is making a little kid happy.”
Anyone interested in donating their own hair to Locks of Love can check with a salon and/or stylist for more information. It is not difficult to do. In Clark’s case, he only needed to show up for his appointment and his hairdresser took care of the rest. For more information on the Locks of Love organization, see their website www.locksoflove.org.
“It was something I really enjoyed [doing],” Clark said.
Will he wait another four years to make a third donation?
He hasn’t quite decided yet.
“Never say never,” he said.