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story.lead_photo.caption Tori Hays, 9, stares into the mirror as Jamie Ausfahl trims her hair Thursday afternoon at Lasting Image in Fulton. Ausfahl cut 10 inches off of Hays' hair, which will be donated to Locks of Love. Photo by Megan Favignano

Tori Hays,9, stared into the mirror parallel to her chair at Lasting Image's hair salon as Jamie Ausfahl braided her light brown hair. After measuring the braid to make sure it was 10 inches of Hays' hair, Ausfahl took her scissors and cut the braid off.

While Hays, a Bartley fourth grader, had been nervous at school that day - she has never cut more than a few inches off of her hair at a time - she was looking forward to cutting off 10 inches.

"I was excited because another kid would be getting it," Hays said.

Hays donated her light brown hair to Locks of Love, an non-profit that gives hairpieces to children under 21 who suffer from long-term medical-related hair loss.

Hays and her mom, Kim Hays, researched Locks of Love after a woman at their church, St. Paul's Lutheran Church, talked about her experience with chemo and losing her hair.

At first, Tori Hays was hesitant to make the appointment at Lasting Image. But, Kim Hays said her daughter quickly came around to the idea.

"After the initial shock, she was excited about doing it," Kim Hays said.

As Tori Hays held 10 inches of her braided hair - the minimum requirement for a Locks of Love donation - she said she wished she could see who it was going to.

Ausfahl said Lasting Image has people come in to donate hair to Locks of Love often. She said people seem to donate in spurts - they'll have several people all around the same time and then none for a while.

Locks of Love requires at least 10 inches of natural, un-died, hair for its donations. Lasting Image waits until they have a few people donate then they send off the donations to Locks of Love.

Tori Hays tilted her head forward as Ausfahl continued cutting and styling her hair into a short bob. Hays' eyes peaked into the mirror. She has always had long hair, but she told Ausfahl she was excited to have a hair style that looked like her mom's hair. To that, her mom smiled, chuckled and said, "We'll be like twinsies."

Tori Hays said she was happy to try out a new short hair style.

"I like this better than it long," she said.

Tori Hays added that she plans to grow her hair out long so she can again donate to Locks of Love. Kim Hays looked at her daughter, smiling as Ausfahl finished trimming Tori Hays' hair.

"I'm proud of you," she said.

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