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Welsch parts with tresses to help less fortunate

TOWN OF TRENTON--An idea planted by her grandmother took root with seven-year-old Gillian Welsch and grew until the Town of Trenton youngster recently realized a successful harvest.

Last month, Welsch donated 10 inches of her hair to the Locks of Love program. The national organization provides custom, vacuum-filled hairpieces from donated hair to people in need who are financially disadvantaged.

Chopping off the tresses that previously cascaded down Welsch's back was done at Shear Perfection in Red Wing, where such cuts are free to program donors. The business ships the hair to the organization.

"It felt was a lot cooler," the shorter-haired girl said Friday. She'd had no haircuts in the back for at least a year, her mother, Sabrina, added.

Her grandma, Sandy Sanders of Anchorage, Alaska, long admired the granddaughter's thick hair, Welsch's mom said. Sanders suggested it be sacrificed to support the cause.

Afterward, the Alaskan resident and husband Ed got to see the results in person, as their daughter took Gillian there on a trip from which they returned earlier this month. Mrs. Welsch is an Alaskan native who married a Hager City native, John; the family also includes four-year-old Maya. Ironically, Mrs. Sanders is originally from Hager City.

The Lindgren Elementary School second grader has since received a certificate from Locks of Love extending the program's appreciation and noting donors can't be linked with eventual recipients. Nonetheless, she said she'd donate again, if the opportunity occurred.

Meantime, she enjoys basketball, swimming and inner tubing, plus being with the family's pet dog, fish and guinea pig.

Those interested in donating to the organization can call 1-888-896-1588 or (561) 963-1677, or visit