I remember when I first heard that cancer patients undergoing treatments would lose all of their hair as a result of chemotherapy. My first reaction was that I wouldn’t be able to bear losing all of my hair, which I had kept long for my entire life. When I discovered that I could donate my hair to make wigs for people fighting cancer, I thought it was a great way to improve people’s lives when they are going through such a difficult time. I made the decision that I was going to donate my hair, so I waited patiently (for about 2 years) for my hair to grow long enough that I would still be able to put it up after I made the donation.
I saw a Facebook event pop up for a hair drive in my location. A hair school was offering free haircuts to anyone who donated at least 6 inches of their hair (bonus: it was being held on campus, so didn’t have to go far). I didn’t have to book an appointment for the hair drive, and I showed up early in the morning for the big haircut. Two of my friends accompanied me, as I was a bit nervous to have my hair the shortest it’s been since I was a toddler. One of the students was able to see me right away, and escorted me to her chair. She sectioned off my hair, and wrapped elastics tightly around each section, making sure each section measured 8 inches (I had too much hair to put into one ponytail). It was nerve racking when she made the first cut; I knew I couldn’t go back. After she had cut 8 inches off all of the sections, she gave me a trim and styled my hair to make sure everything was even. Since the hair school was organizing the drive, they took responsibility for shipping the hair to make the wigs.
There are a few organizations that collect donated hair to make wigs for cancer patients, including Locks of Love and Pantene Beautiful Lengths. Most organizations require that you donate at least 8 inches of year, and have unbleached hair with little to no gray hairs.
My hair is coloured now, so I likely won’t be able to donate my hair for awhile. If you’re thinking of getting a major haircut, I’d recommend making a donation. Many salons will offer free haircuts if you’re donating your hair. As a student, I didn’t have a lot of time or money to donate to worthy causes, so this was a perfect way for me to give back.
Let me know in the comments section if you want to hear more about my volunteering experiences.