UCF's Patrice Fee and Lacey Dinney Make Big Donation to Children in Need

April 11, 2011

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By Carlyn Topkin

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - For UCF softball players Patrice Fee (Cocoa, Fla.) and Lacey Dinney (Binbrook, Ont.), long hair was part of their identity--until recently. Both had hair down to their belly-buttons and felt it was an essential part of their look until a spur of the moment decision happened at this year's Relay for Life event, where both got 10.5 inches cut off their hair to donate to Locks of Love.

Locks of Love is a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children under age 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis. The organization will use the hair donated by Fee and Dinney to make high quality hair prostheses.

"We were at Relay for Life volunteering at the softball tent when we noticed they were cutting hair for charity on stage," explained Fee. "All of my teammates were telling me I should do it because of my long hair. So I said I would do it only if Lacey did it too."

After convincing Dinney to join her on stage, both Fee and Dinney had their hair measured and each met the 10-inch requirement.

"I've been growing my hair out for three years," Dinney said. "I've donated in the past, but didn't feel ready yet to donate again. But, when I was getting measured, I looked over and a cancer survivor was looking at my hair and smiling. She told me how she would have loved to have hair like mine and I knew in that moment I had to do it. So Patrice did it too and we were less freaked out."

The hair cutting took place on stage to Katy Perry's song, "Firework." The crowd of at least 100 spectators cheered and snapped pictures as Fee and Dinney held hands and braced themselves for the first snip.

Although the girls were nervous, Dinney found the experience incredibly rewarding.

"It was hard, especially when they hand you your ponytail," Dinney recalled. "I was so nervous, but it felt so good afterward. After hearing the cancer survivors tell us how proud they were of us and that we were heroes, it was awesome. People need it more than we do. The experience was awesome. I would definitely do it again."

Fee said she feels great about donating.

"We were both really attached to our hair, but at the end of the day, it's hair," Fee said. "It's going to someone who can love the hair as much as I loved the hair. Hair grows."

The hair was cut off as a ponytail, which the girls will now mail to Locks of Love. By mailing it in themselves they will be able to receive information on the story of the hair and the child it is helping.

For now, the athletes are learning to adjust to their shoulder-length bobs.

"My mom had to go buy me bobby pins because I've never had short hair," Fee said. "I like not having heavy hair on my neck. It's not as hot and not in the way for softball.

Although the rest of the team was inspired by Dinney and Fee to donate their hair as well, no one else met the minimum length requirement yet.

"Everyone is trying to grow their hair out now so they can donate too," Dinney said.

Fee and Dinney are not the first UCF softball players to donate to Locks of Love, as former Knight Ashley Van Ryn also clipped 13 inches off her hair in 2008 to help children in need.

Anyone interested in donating to Locks of Love, please visit the organization's website at locksoflove.org, where you can read about its specific requirements and other information about donating to this amazing cause.