Donating Hair for Cancer Patients
For many women, hair is pinnacle to their identity. They may not even realize how much so, until it's gone. As empowered as I was the day I decided to shave my head, I was honestly still shocked when I looked into the mirror. I saw a different person looking back at me – I saw a cancer patient looking back at me. But, I've found that wearing a wig helps me to feel like myself again, and makes going to work, being in public, and being around my children more comfortable.
There are so many women going through cancer treatment who don’t have the funds to cover the cost of a wig. But interestingly, my wig was covered by my insurance – some insurance companies may only cover a percentage of the cost while others may not cover it at all – so its always wise to ask the question.
Since losing your hair is almost inevitable when undergoing chemotherapy, there are great organizations that accept money as well as human hair donations for wigs and other hairpieces. Two great places I’ve found are Wigs for Kids and Pantene Beautiful Lengths. Wigs for Kids creates free wigs for children with cancer amongst other other medical conditions, and the Pantene Beautiful Lengths hair donations go to women with cancer, also free of charge. These are just two of many "wig charities" that exist.
If you or someone you know is considering donating hair, its important to pay attention to the donation requirements. To ensure your gift of hair makes it into a wig, be aware of things like the minimum hair length you can donate, hair treatment restrictions, percentage of gray hair allowed, etc. And don’t forget, you don’t need to part with your tresses to make a difference; you can also send funds that greatly help in the production of a wig.
While this is a whole new world to me I find such comfort in knowing how passionate and educated these professionals are when it comes to helping women, and men, who have lost their hair. And just remember that for most of us going through chemo, once this is all over, it'll grow back!