Linda McLean knows she can’t go down to Louisiana to personally help save the Gulf.
She can’t help save the dying dolphins she’s seen on CNN. She can’t help clean the oil off the birds, although she wishes she could. After suffering three strokes, she is disabled, walks with a cane and is working with a fixed income.
McLean wrote a letter to the White House and made a $5 donation to a nature organization, but she wanted to do more.
So the 57-year-old Colorado Springs resident walked into a Cost Cutters Wednesday morning and said she wanted to shave her head. She had decided to donate her hair. All of it.
Despite BP’s rejection of using donated hair for cleanup of the Gulf oil spill, McLean is among thousands in Colorado Springs and across the country who continue to donate hair to a California-based company called Matter of Trust in hopes it could still help.
Matter of Trust collects human and animal hair and stores it in warehouses until it’s needed for oil spills. Volunteers stuff the hair into donated nylons to create hair booms that can soak up the oil, as they did in the November 2007 Cosco Busan oil spill in San Francisco.
“I wanted to do something,” McLean said. “I had the idea of, ‘Oh, I can do that. That won’t cost me anything but a haircut.’”
Donated hair has piled up in Matter of Trust’s warehouses across the country since the April 20 collapse of a drilling rig leased by BP, said Lisa Craig Gautier, president of the nonprofit launched in 1998.
And while the hair has thus far gone unused and the Coast Guard has said it too won’t use the hair, Gautier is holding out hope. Hair continues to be collected as Matter of Trust speaks with parishes, Native American tribes and other smaller organizations interested in using the booms in their communities. Gautier insists it will go to use.
“Everyone’s like, ‘Press on’ and I think it makes sense to, I think it makes sense to show that when you have this huge mobilization for something that works and everybody has participated, it just doesn’t seem right to quit,” Gautier said. “We have all of these warehouses — people have volunteered the space. People have volunteered their time.”
In Colorado Springs, 20 companies are listed as participants with Matter of Trust. Included on the list is Veda Salon and Spa, 7443 N. Academy Blvd., where McLean took her baggie of hair.
“We’ve been collecting for about a month now and we do not throw away a single piece of hair — 100 percent of the hair being cut at Veda — until they tell us to stop sending it,” Veda Salon and Spa branch manager Doreesa Serrano said. Veda Salon and Spa’s four branches in Colorado Springs are filling four 30-gallon trash cans weekly, she said.
McLean said the fact BP has declined to take the hair booms is similar to doctors standing around a table talking about their outfits and weekend plans in between wondering what to do as the patient hemorrhages.
“It’s like, ‘Do something,’” she said. “You’ve got to get in there and stop the bleeding.”
She looked at her 8-month-old granddaugther, Zoe, as she waited her turn at Cost Cutters, 5140 N. Academy Blvd.
She talked about having a special connection to the ocean after growing up in Texas and Florida.
She joked about having a contest to determine who was cuter with short hair: her or Zoe.
“I want her to grow up and go to the ocean and play like I did,” she said.
On clean sand and in clean water.
See original article here.