Patient organizes hair donation event at local rehab center

Patient organizes hair donation event at local rehab center

Posted:
The group lined up before the cuts. The group lined up before the cuts.
"I heard about it a long time ago and I just started growing," said Caroline, who most often uses sign language to communicate. "I heard about it a long time ago and I just started growing," said Caroline, who most often uses sign language to communicate.
"Aside from the fact that I got suckered into it, I heard they were doing this for Caroline and I've always loved her since I've been working with her," said recreational therapist Ashley Pinkerton. "Aside from the fact that I got suckered into it, I heard they were doing this for Caroline and I've always loved her since I've been working with her," said recreational therapist Ashley Pinkerton.
The late Patricia Neal's own Knoxville hairdresser, David Matthews, made the ceremonial cuts. The late Patricia Neal's own Knoxville hairdresser, David Matthews, made the ceremonial cuts.

By LORI TUCKER
6 News Anchor

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Caroline Owen is a determined young woman.

Caroline suffered traumatic brain injury in a one car crash on her way from Knoxville back to school at Clemson University in November 2006 and almost lost her life.

She still lives with the effects, but hasn't let it stop her in the least.

6 News has followed her as she learned to scuba dive and took part in a marathon.

Now, she's putting her energy into giving back.

Caroline recently lined up with her physical therapists at Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center for a wonderful cause.

As we looked over their shoulders, we saw a row of braided hair, ready to be donated to Locks of Love.

It's only fitting that the late Patricia Neal's own Knoxville hairdresser, David Matthews, would make the ceremonial cuts.

It's something Matthews wanted to do for the staff at the center, and for Caroline.

"I've known Caroline since she was a very small girl, and so there were the years where she would come to the shop and I would put her in my lap and trim her hair," said Matthews.

This is Caroline's fourth time to donate. Considering it takes two years to grow hair long enough for Locks of Love, that's quite a commitment.

"I heard about it a long time ago and I just started growing," said Caroline, who most often uses sign language to communicate.

True to form, Caroline talked those closest to her into growing out their hair, too.

"Aside from the fact that I got suckered into it, I heard they were doing this for Caroline and I've always loved her since I've been working with her," said recreational therapist Ashley Pinkerton.

Caroline's friend, Kyle Wike, traveled from Hickory, North Carolina for the cause.

"If they can use the hair, then that's a good thing. And I was blessed with a lot of it," he said.

Locks of Love will turn the braids into not just wigs, but wigs made with special prosthetics so that they stay put during play. They're donated to disadvantaged kids who've lost their hair for a variety of medical reasons.

For more information on the program and how to donate your hair, visit the Locks of Love website.

And if you'd like to keep up with what Caroline's doing these days, check out her blog.

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