LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - During childhood, the teasing that oftentimes comes along with looking different than others can be traumatic. For children with medical conditions that cause them to lose their hair, self-esteem can stoop to a dangerous low. This week, one local youngster is doing what he can to change that.
For the past seven years, Michael Manning has been growing into the likeness of his favorite musicians. "I like long hair because it looks like rock star hair," says Michael.
As the hair grew longer and longer, the idea of cutting it never appealed to Michael - even though his parents would recommend trimming the lengthy layers. John Manning, Michael's dad says, "He likes Kid Rock and Hank Williams, Jr., so he didn't want to cut his hair because he thought it looked cool and liked it."
But a chance encounter with a woman at a ball game got Michael's mind going in a different direction. "W went to a ball game and a lady there told me about 'Locks of Love,'" says Michael. Locks of Love provides hairpieces to children who have lost their own hair. This year alone, 2,000 children will be diagnosed with brain tumors and undergo a treatment program that takes their hair. There are also four million people in America living with an auto-immune disorder called "alopecia" that causes the hair follicles to shut down.
When Michael was told his hair could help these kids, he was in! "He came back and said, 'hey that's what I want to do,'" says John, "'Locks of Love - I want to help some other kid out there.'"
With hair all the way down his back, Michael's in for a big change! Within five minutes of taking his seat, seven years worth of grown out hair was taken off Michael's head - making his family do a double-take. Mom, Jodi says, "It's shocking but it looks really good. I really like it."
While the dramatic change is a lot for this youngster to take in, he says he knows he did the right thing. "It makes me happy to help another kid," says Michael.
Michael's hair will be sent off to Locks of Love this week and he'll get a certificate thanking him for his donation. Click here to learn more about Locks of Love.