May 17 (UPI) -- A Michigan woman who received some braids of hair from her aunt when she was 12 years old donated the 60-year-old locks to a charity that makes wigs for children.
Janet Guinter, of Lansing, said she received the unusual family heirloom from her aunt several decades ago.
"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," Guinter told WSYM-TV.
"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."
Guinter said she never used the braids, but she kept them safe and wrapped up for nearly 60 years.
"I started thinking that somebody other than me might find these someday," she said.
Guinter said she thought about what to do with her possessions after a neighbor died two years ago and she saw his belongings 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," Guinter said.
She said she started researching what to do with the braids and discovered Children With Hair Loss, a Detroit-based charity that makes wigs for kids with medical hair loss, would gladly accept the 60-year-old hair.
The charity does not have any requirements for how old the hair can be, asking only that donated locks be at least 8 inches long.
"Once hair is cut, it's actually preserved forever. We have had hair that is donated over 100 years old," said Regina Villemure, founder of Children With Hair Loss. "It kind of blows everybody's mind that the hair is preserved once it's cut."