I look back and remember the carefree and imaginative childhood I had, living happily and healthily with hair down my back as golden as wheat. I despised my mom painstakingly brushing and detangling my hair because I knew by the end of the day it would be wild and unkempt from my rambunctious frolicking. My self-esteem was boosted every time someone complimented my hair, and my hair was a part of my identity by the time I was just 6 years old. I look back at pictures and I still remember how special my hair was to me.

Now, I am 21 years old, and I still love having long, golden hair. But now, instead of keeping my hair long all the time, I have a ritual I practice every few years once my hair has grown long enough. When that time comes, I take the plunge and get "The Big Chop," which means my long locks are cut off, leaving my hairdresser with a 12-inch ponytail each time. So why do I get The Big Chop? So my hairdresser can donate my hair to children in need.

The organization my hairdresser donates my hair to, Wigs for Kids, provides free custom wigs to children in need. If my hair can serve as a source of confidence and security for a child who doesn't have hair at all, that is much more important than my need to have long tresses by far. I always ask myself how I would feel if I had no hair at all, and how thankful I would be to have a free wig if that was the case. It definitely helps remind me that my hairstyle shouldn't just be about my own preferences and helps me keep perspective knowing my hair will provide a child with a free wig.

I imagine that child who will receive a wig made from my hair, who may be facing health issues in addition to losing their hair. I wonder how carefree they have been able to be. Can they run and play? Can they be as rambunctious and active as I was? For many of them, the answer is no. On top of that, many of those children can be easily identified and often teased by their peers their lack of hair. Hair donors can help restore a sense of normalcy, and maybe even fun, to a child's life.

I would encourage everyone to make this donation at least once in their life. The Big Chop is freeing, heartwarming and well worth it! Check out photos of my 2014 Big Chop below!

To find out the guidelines for donation, visit Wigs for Kids website here. If your salon does not donate hair, you can also find a participating salon here. Financial donations are also needed, so if you don't have long hair but want to contribute, visit this link.