How You Can Help Someone with Cancer or Alopecia Areata

Do you know someone that has cancer or alopecia areata? Do you want to help but you don’t know how? Perhaps donating money to a cause is not feasible right now or still leaves you feeling helpless. Sometimes just telling the person with the illness that you would do anything you could to help ease their pain just does not feel sufficient. You can see the pain and sadness in their eyes when they look at themselves in the mirror as they lose their hair and don’t recognize their own reflection.

You can help. Really, you can.

I felt helpless as my friend Sue was fighting cancer. As she was going through the chemotherapy treatment and losing her hair, she and her “chemo buddies” worried about how others saw them. None of them wanted to look sick. They didn’t want to be pitied. They wanted to blend in and that is tough to do when you are a bald woman or child.

Wigs became very important to Sue. Fortunately she had the money to buy the wigs she wanted. The majority of the women and children she came to know could not afford a good wig which cost about $1,200.00 and is rarely covered by insurance.

When Sue died I remembered her words about how important having hair is to someone that loses it to an illness. In her honor, I grew my hair out and then donated it in hopes of helping someone to be able to look at their reflection in the mirror and feel just a little better when they put that wig on. You can help someone feel better too. Whether you are male or female you can grow your hair and donate it.

The two most well known organizations that donate wigs those in need are: “Locks of Love” and “Pantene Beautiful Lengths.”

To whom should you and your friends, relatives, coworkers and schoolmates donate your hair?

Locks of Love and Pantene Beautiful Lengths both collect hair donations from the U.S. and Canada. There are some differences between the two. Locks of Love donates only to children under age 21 suffering from long term medical hair loss from any diagnosis. Most of the children that receive wigs suffer from a condition called alopecia areata which has no known cause or cure. Ten inches or more must be donated to be used in a Locks of Love wig.

Pantene Beautiful Lengths donates to women suffering the loss of their hair due to the effects of chemotherapy needed to fight cancer that is ravaging their bodies. Pantene works in collaboration with The American Cancer Society. The wigs are distributed through the American Cancer Society’s many wig banks. Eight inches or more is needed for these wigs. Pantene will accept up to 5% grey hair in the donation.

Both organizations will accept smaller (shorter) donations and will accept grey hair, but they will usually sell it. The proceeds from the sale will then be used to offset the manufacturing costs of making the wigs.

Everyone can donate with one exception: bleached hair. They are not able to accept bleached hair due to a chemical reaction that occurs during the manufacturing process.

If you are looking for a way to help and a reason to help, you have found a good one. Donating your hair is truly giving of yourself in a very personal way. Someone out there will be wearing a part of you. You will be an important part of their life. When I see my new short haircut I think of my friend Sue. I know that she would have been proud that I was willing to give, “The kindest cut of all.”

For more information on Locks of Love or Pantene Beautiful Lengths please click on these links:

http://www.locksoflove.org/donate.html

http://www.pantene.com/en-US/beautiful-lengths-refresh/Pages/default.aspx

Thank you to the Carling family for donating their hair too for this wonderful cause!

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