MARCO ISLAND — Jaxon Dunn likes “Wall-E,” skyscrapers, tunnels and Jumping Jack’s Kids Play Gym in Naples. At three years old, he’s a normal kid. He’s also a very young philanthropist.
On Tuesday, Jaxon took his first step toward adulthood by giving his surfer-style curls to Locks of Love. His gift will provide a hair prosthesis for a disadvantaged child who is suffering from an illness causing hair loss.
It was a big day for the little boy, who understood at a kid’s level the gift he was giving. Jaxon may be the youngest donor for the charity.
Sitting on a booster seat at Modern Nails & Spa, hairstylist Julie Stoller took the first snip. Jaxon didn’t flinch. Mom, Casey Ellis-Dunn, shed a tear. Dad, Sean, kneeling beside his son, cooed reassuringly while holding Jaxon’s hand.
Family friend Ami Burroughs shot pictures and became misty with Casey.
“I was there for Jaxon’s birth, and I wanted to be here for his first haircut,” Burroughs said.
Casey Ellis-Dunn grew up on Marco Island and knew a boy who had alopecia, a hair loss condition. She moved to Naples and attended Barron Collier High School. The family recently returned to Marco, triggering her memory of the boy who lost his hair.
Her own son’s hair had grown into a mop of curly locks, precious on a baby, but Jaxon turned three on March 2. He was becoming a little more distressed when his hair had to be combed, she said. Jaxon’s mom knew what had to be done and began researching hair donations.
“I went on the Internet and looked at Locks of Love. Donated hair had to be at least 10-inches long, not highlighted and natural looking,” she said. Jaxon’s hair met all the requirements.
Jaxon thoughtfully listened to the conversation and responded: “I want to give my hair to a baby.”
Midway through his haircut, Jaxon whispered: “It tickles!” As an older-looking boy emerged from behind the curls, Jaxon seemed pleased with his reflection. Stoller tested a few styles and settled on gel and spikes, clearly giving Jaxon a new look that accented his face and transformed him from baby to little boy.
Locks of Love states its mission as a way to help financially disadvantaged children suffering from hair loss return to a sense of self-confidence and normalcy. Donated hair, its website explained, provides the highest quality and is given to children free of charge or on a sliding scale, based on financial need.
Criteria for hair donation include the longest hair, if hair is layered, should reach 10 inches when pulled straight. Colored or permed hair is acceptable, but not bleached or highlighted hair.
Donations must not be swept from the floor but should be gathered into a ponytail and mailed to Locks of Love, 234 Southern Blvd., West Palm Beach, FL 33405-2701. More information and guidelines are available at www.locksoflove.org.