Cancer affects us all. It's taken lives and robbed years of health and happiness from people we love. I've experienced loss because of cancer, and when watching others face it you can feel helpless.
These Friends Surprised Their Friend In The Most Amazing Way
It is often a crisis that calls you to action. Friends of ours faced the horrific discovery of a tumour on their daughter's brain stem shortly before she was to return to school one year, and the entire family have been in an exhausting daily battle since. I've felt helpless being many miles away, but I knew one small thing that could be done was to donate hair to be used as wigs for children and adults who've lost their hair to chemotherapy or radiation treatments.
A head of hair is something many people take for granted - and it's a simple thing really - when you have it. For those who don't, it can make a difference of whether or not they feel comfortable leaving their homes and participating in life.
Unfortunately mine is colour-treated with bleaching, which when I checked makes it unusable, however, my almost five year-old daughter's hair was a possibility. I discussed it with her and we talked about helping others and why some children could really benefit from her simply cutting her hair. She was on board, so it grew for another six months before we headed to the salon. She sat excitedly and wide-eyed in the chair. She has only had a few hair cuts in her life so this was an interesting experience and a big change for her. It was funny that I was a little nervous, since girls and hair have a weird association that some feel protective of for no apparent reason.
In the end, my daughter was happy with her haircut. I'm sure knowing that her hair would go to help others was part of that conclusion, and so we mailed off her donation shortly after the cut. I included a note with her name and age - which is an option - and she received a thank you from the organization. Although one is not able to donate to a specific child, one little girl in particular was certainly in our hearts and minds throughout the process.
Giving Back: Teaching Your Kids About "Every Day" Charity
Perhaps you have considered donating hair but are unsure of how to do it, but it's actually quite simple. We donated through Pantene Beautiful Lengths. Here are some additional ways you can donate hair:
For Pantene Beautiful Lengths, they require 8 inches of non-bleach treated (dyed hair is fine) hair and you can simply mail it in. You can print out an e-label to cover the postage, then put the donation in a plastic bag and mail it in a plastic or padded envelope to:
PANTENE BEAUTIFUL LENGTHS
2-1055 MIDDLEGATE RD
MISSISSAUGA ON CANADA L4Y 9Z9
For more information see: Cancer.ca Get Involved
Another program is Angel Hair for Kids. They require 12 inches of hair for their donations. The mailing instructions are similar to the beautiful lengths program, but they have a form you can fill out and they will send you a certification acknowledging your donation. They request a two dollar donation accompany the hair donation. Mail hair to:
A CHILD'S VOICE FOUNDATION
C/O ANGEL HAIR FOR KIDS
3034 PALSTAN ROAD SUITE 301
MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO L4Y 2Z6
Read more at: Hair Donation Guidelines
360 Hair also accepts hair donations for wig-making use. You can see their guidelines and criteria which are similar to those stated above. Hair donations are accepted across Canada, and a comprehensive list of hair donations sites and addresses can be found here. For most programs, there is no maximum length, just that hair must be clean and dry and gathered at the source, and not off the floor. It must also be secured by an elastic in a braid or ponytail.
One additional tip: Ask for two or more ponytails at the salon when having hair cut. It provides a straighter cut to work with afterwards without the loss of unnecessary and unusable length. It may also be a good idea to speak to your hairdresser first, and, if this is your first visit at this salon, make sure the stylist knows exactly how much hair you will be donating. You may choose to give only eight inches, yet somehow find 12+ on the floor. A compassionate salon staff are necessary for a positive experience and it may be worth investing the time to find out if a salon has performed any "donation cuts" before agreeing to don the plastic apron.