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Lansing woman donates unique family heirloom

Posted at 3:11 PM, May 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-16 15:11:48-04

LANSING, Mich. — Janet Guinter recently decided it was time to part with a family heirloom.

Janet Guinter

It's not your typical treasure, but to Janet, it's a piece of family history. One she received from her aunt Margaret when she was just 12 years old.

It's not your typical treasure, but to Janet, it's a piece of family history. One she received from her aunt Margaret when she was just 12 years old.

"My aunt was visiting me in New Jersey, where we both lived at the time. She brought these braids with her and gave them to me. At that time, my hair was this exact same color, and she said, "Why don't you keep these braids, and you can use them in creative hairstyles." That was the reason she stated for giving them to me."

Janet never used the braids in her hair, but she did wrap them up and keep them for nearly 60 years.

"I started thinking that somebody other than me might find these someday."

A few years ago, Janet's neighbor passed away, and she watched as his belongings were thrown into the trash. She knew she needed to do something with her own treasures.

A few years ago, Janet's neighbor passed away, and she watched as his belongings were thrown into the trash.

"I ended up watching that experience across the street about two years ago, and it really influenced me because it was hard to see that man's entire possessions going to a dumpster."

Janet researched organizations where she could donate hair braids.

She came across Children With Hair Loss - an organization based outside of Detroit. Regina Villemure is the Founder and says hair doesn't expire.

Children with hair loss
Thank you note from child with hair loss

"Once hair is cut, it's actually preserved forever. We have had hair that is donated over 100 years old.

Regina Villemure, Founder of Children with Hair Loss says hair doesn't expire

It kind of blows everybody's mind that the hair is preserved once it's cut."

The non-profit Children With Hair Loss gives kids with medically related hair loss a chance to receive a custom wig for free. They can do this because of generous financial contributions from supporters and hair donations from people like Janet. So far this year, they have helped fit 200 children all over the country with new hair.

The non-profit Children With Hair Loss gives kids with medically related hair loss a chance to receive a custom wig for free.

"When we get a thank-you letter from a parent along with pictures of some of these kids, and we see the smiles on their faces, it is so heartwarming. There may be a child that hasn't dealt very well with their hair loss. When they put the hairpiece on, and it makes them just come alive, it's great to see. Their confidence is back. Just a couple of weeks ago, one child was diagnosed with alopecia and was not dealing well with it. She received a hairpiece, and when she came out, she came out as a whole new child. I want to send a big thank you out to Janet for being the hair donor and calling in getting the information that she did."

Click here to more about Children with hair loss.

We want to say thank you to Janet for deciding to donate something that has meant so much to her – to help kids in need.

Janet Guinter, you are this week's good neighbor.

Janet Guinter and Bob Hofffman
Group photo

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