Andy Roo’s Personal Donation History
Locks on the Rocks is a concept imagined by Andy Roo Mowery, who has been growing his hair for donations since 1995, and has donated 6 times to 4 different organizations, including the Tirumala Temple in India which collects more hair for wigs than any other place on Earth.
Andy has always had fast-growing hair, and after years of leaving inch after inch on the cutting floor, he decided that it would be better to grow it out and donate it to those in need. His hair grows at a rate of 3/4″ – 1″ per month, so he’s been able to donate every 2-3 years since the year 2000 when he made his first donation.
His first donation was to Wigs for Kids in 2000, and he was drawn to their cause and mission to help kids regain their self-esteem. The organization was founded by Certified Cosmetic Therapist Jeffrey Paul in 1981, and Andy’s first donation was over 15″. He got his hair cut on his parents back porch by a friend who is a stylist, Sandra Arena.
His second donation in 2003 was made to Locks of Love, which has a slightly different mission to provide hairpieces to children under age 21 who suffer from long-term hair loss, and in particular the autoimmune disorder called alopecia areata, for which there is no known cure. They also focus on those who have suffered from severe burns, cancer, and other skin disorders. This donation was even longer, and was approximately 20″ long. Sandra Arena was once again the stylist.
In 2005, Andy made a second donation to Locks of Love of approximately 14″, and the donation was taken by Salon de Chelle, in Fort Collins, CO.
In 2008, Andy returned to Salon de Chelle, and was taught about another donation program from the company Pantene, who makes haircare products. Pantene’s program, called Beautiful Lengths, is a little different in that they work directly with many salons who can collect the donated hair and send it in to Pantene in batches. Their program requires less hair, only 8″, and they donate all of their wigs to the American Cancer Society’s wig bank. They’ve donated over 800,000 wigs to date.
Andy donated another 15″ to Beautiful lengths in 2008, and then another 12″ in 2010. It was at Salon de Chelle that he learned about the process of making 4-6 pony tails in order to maximize the donations. Multiple ponytails will allow the donor to get up to 4″ extra while still allowing the hair to be long enough to be tied back after the cutting. This fact alone can lead to many more people donating than think they can!
In 2012, Andy was invited by a college friend to visit him in India in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Andy visited a Hindu temple at Tirumala, where over 50,000 people visit every single day. About 1/3 of these visitors participate in a ceremony called Tonsure, where hair
is shaved off the head and donated. Tirumala is, by far, the greatest hair donation organization on Earth with literally millions of donations made over centuries. Andy’s experience there was part of the inspiration to associate hair donations with Red Rocks – as he finds the Amphitheater to be the place where he’s had many inspirational and even spiritual experiences.
Andy wanted, originally, to have people get their hair cut at Red Rocks during events. But, after much research, found that it would be difficult, expensive, and actually a security risk (think scissors at a concert). Collecting hair at the venue could also be difficult with things like rain, not to mention the possibility of degrading donations.
So, after much thought, he came up with a simplified concept: Simply give out hair ties with instructions on how to donate, and let those who want to donate send in to their favorite wig-making charity. The number of donations will be measured at each organization and posted here. We’d like to make this effort something that can be replicated at other locations around the country and world, as well as become an annual drive.
Hair ties are donated to the effort by the Elastic Band Company, and we would appreciate everyone giving their full support to them for their generosity!