VALPARAISO | Debra Yerga may have lost 31 inches of hair, but she is now $4,000 richer.

The Valparaiso woman cut her long, brown locks a few weeks ago and basically has less than an inch of hair left on her head.

And she didn't even shed one tear.

"I made up my mind that I was going to get it cut and I had a lot of support," said Yerga.

As her hair was cut at Fast Eddies salon in Valparaiso it was placed carefully in a box. Yerga sold the hair to a man in Australia who will be using it for hair extensions.

The 52-year-old woman has always kept her hair long.

"When I was little I always wore it in a bun and as I got older I grew it long," she said. "I've gotten it cut before and the last two times I got it cut I donated the hair to Locks of Love."

This time Yerga decided that she was going to see if she could sell her hair. She checked out many websites and found many that were scams but then hit upon one that was legitimate and she placed an ad for her hair on

Describing it in the ad as "Virgin hair with no blow drying and heated hair accessories for styling. Never permed colored or highlighted. Washed twice a week..." netted her many responses. After further investigation she got in contact with the Australian man who offered her $4,000 for the locks.

She had to show him pictures of her hair, samples of the hair were tested and the haircut had to be videotaped. She received her money in installments once she completed the process.

"I learned so much by doing this process," she said. "I have learned to be healthier with my hair and eat better foods."

Yerga also has more time to do other things because it takes a shorter prep time in the morning.

"It would take me at least 30 minutes to wash my hair when it was long," she said. "Now I just put a dab of shampoo on my hair and I'm done."

Yerga hopes to grow her hair long again and in about four years would like to sell it again.

"I'm using the money on myself and I'm also donating some of it to cancer research," she said.

Annette is Porter County Community Coordinator for The Times. She has been with the paper for 20 years. A resident of Hobart, she graduated from Purdue University with degrees in English and German.