by Audra Ellis, MiCAFE Community Partner Liaison
Sometimes working for non-profit organization can be heartbreaking. You hear about clients going through foreclosure, having to choose between buying food and buying medication, and difficult legal issues. It’s the good stories that keep us going; seeing the difference that we make. I stay motivated when I see the dedication and kindness I’m surrounded with on a daily basis. My co-workers are simply amazing, everyone tries so hard to help not only our clients, but also our community.
Recently, I became inspired by my co-worker and friend Dawn Kepler. I’ve always known about Dawn’s generosity and kindness from her dedication to our clients as well as her participation in community events and volunteering efforts. Just a few months ago, Dawn worked in the freezing rain and snow helping put siding on a Habitat for Humanity house. Recently, Dawn grew out her hair so she could later donate it. It takes a long time to grow out one’s hair; I should know I’ve been growing mine out for some time. Dawn donated about a foot of her hair, which took her over two years to grow out. I inquired with her about information on the cause, and how I’m not sure I could do anything so bold to my own hair.
Dawn described the process of growing her hair out for donation as a normal routine. By normal routine, I mean this isn’t her first rodeo, Dawn has now donated her hair five times. I find it very inspiring seeing how selfless one can be. She’s not only selfless, but she is also very modest. Anytime I’m involved in a good deed, I find it necessary for my achievements to be acknowledged. Dawn is quite the opposite; I had to be a Nosey Nancy to get the details of her act of kindness. After talking with Dawn, she made me realize that hair will grow back and the ability to help others is worth it.
In previous years, Dawn donated her hair to “Locks of Love”. This year, Dawn decided to donate her hair to “Children with Hair Loss”. Children with Hair Loss was created as a resource for all children who have medically-related hair loss. It’s their mission to empower these children to become whole again by making hair replacement available to those who may be financially challenged and might otherwise not have a means of obtaining the hair they want and need. Their goal is to assist as many of these children as possible by helping change their lives through improving their outlook and empowering them with the self-confidence that will allow them to face the world with renewed self-esteem.
CWHL opened in September 2000. After researching, they didn’t find any other organizations that were giving human hair replacements to children at no cost. CWHL’s mission and goals were to never charge a family at a time when they need the most help. After years of intense fundraising, CWHL was able to purchase their first building in 2005. The headquarters resides in South Rockwood, Michigan in an old renovated fire station. Originally, CWHL’s focus was on children fighting cancer, until they found out that there were many other reasons that children lost their hair including Alopecia, burns, Trichotillomania, and other rare diseases and disorders. To this day, Children with Hair Loss has never charged a child. Currently, they have provided customized hair replacement and care kits to over 300 children a year.
If you’d like more information on this amazing organization or are interested in donating your own hair, check out their website!
Audra is an MiCAFE Community Partner Liaison at Elder Law of Michigan. She has been with Elder Law since February of 2009.
Before coming to Elder Law, Audra worked as a Shift Leader at Alcohol Drug Administrative Monitoring, where she oversaw shift changes and worked closely with clients developing her communication skills.
As Administrative Assistant and member of the Elder Law team, Audra works closely with clients by managing intake calls and client appointments in addition to screening clients for benefits. She also partakes in case management and delegates attorney correspondence, working closely with both clients and attorneys to keep daily activities within the organization running smoothly and efficiently.