Resources for Donating Hair to Charities

For the past couple of years, my daughter refused to let me cut more than an inch or two off her hair. She wanted to grow it to be the length of the babysitters’, all of whom have hair down their backs. Luckily a). my daughter has beautiful hair (I wear a pixie cut and have no such luck!) and b). we discovered that one of her favorite sitters donates her hair every year and is an inspiration to all of us. And so began our journey of mostly at-home trims, learning to braid and get creative with long hair, and endless untangling. Along the way, our family talked about donating the hair, who it might help and what his or her life might be like while struggling with hair loss (via cancer treatments, alopecia, etc.). I found that the dedication to growing her hair inspired discussions that made uncomfortable subjects more approachable. In addition, it gave my daughter a greater understanding of how one life can affect another.

Finally, just before the end of the school year, she declared that she was ready to have it cut. She was excited about donating her hair and also eager to see a change in her appearance. She was ready. Like, NOW. And I knew I should seize that moment before she changed my mind.

Of course it was a Saturday, early afternoon, prime time for salons. I immediately tapped into a LiveNewton post I wrote a few weeks ago, about where to get your child’s hair cut (a good cut without paying an adult rate). I started alphabetically from the top, knowing there was a slim chance we’d get in that same day. But when I reached the scheduling person at Dellaria in Newton Centre, we were able to make an appointment for that afternoon. Our stylist was Theresa, and she was excited to be part of our big experience.

Children with Hair Loss

Children With Hair Loss is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization that provides human hair replacements at no cost to children and young adults facing medically-related hair loss. From their website: “When a child’s hair is lost due to Cancer treatments, Alopecia, Trichotillomania, Burns, etc., the painful effects are far deeper than just cosmetic. Each year, the number of children requesting our hair replacements increases and with your support, we can continue to increase the number of children we are able to help in the future!”
***Hair must be 8″ or longer in a ponytail
***The creation of their wigs are paid for by donations
***Individuals receive the wigs free of charge

 

Cuts Against Cancer

Their mission: “To give a second chance to women and children with cancer. Our non-profit (NGO ORG) Cuts Against Cancer was created to aid and advance our Free Medical Give Away Program which is devised for those women and children that cannot afford to purchase a full cranial prosthesis because they have no insurance or medical system which assists them to do so.” Here you’ll find their guidelines for donating hair.
***Hair must be 12″ or longer in a ponytail
***The creation of their wigs are paid for by donations
***Individuals receive the wigs free of charge

 

Locks of Love

Locks of Love “is a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children under age 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis.” Their mission is to “return a sense of self, confidence and normalcy to children by utilizing donated ponytails to provide the highest quality hair prosthetics to financially disadvantaged children. The children receive prosthesis free of charge.” Locks of Love made over 400 hairpieces last fiscal year.
***Hair must be 10″ or longer in a ponytail
***The creation of their wigs are paid for by donations
***Individuals receive the wigs free of charge

 

Pantene

Donated hair goes specifically to women battling cancer. “Since 2006, the Pantene Beautiful Lengths program has taken donated ponytails and distributed close to 50,000 real-hair wigs to banks nationwide. They’re part of the largest national movement and first campaign to create free, real-hair wigs for women with cancer. Hair provided by generous volunteers is used to craft beautiful, high-quality wigs by their partner, HairUWear®. Then it will go to a woman affected by hair loss from cancer.”
***Hair must be 8″ or longer in a ponytail
***They only create wigs for adults, not children
***Individuals receive the wigs free of charge

 

Wigs for Kids

Wigs for Kids go to children who have lost hair to cancer, burns, the autoimmune disorder alopecia, the compulsive hair-pulling disease trichotillomania and other causes. Wigs are free, and children also receive the products, brushes, towels and instruction needed to care for them. Children get to pick the color and length of their custom-fitted hairpieces and each wig is cut and styled on the child’s head.
***Hair must be 12″ or longer in a ponytail
***The creation of their wigs are paid for by donations
***Individuals receive the wigs free of charge

It’s amazing that months (years!) of hair growth can be undone with just a few snips! My daughter was all smiles, giddy even, loving the experience and her new haircut. She opted for a long bob that just brushes her shoulders. Theresa, her stylist, was fantastic and made it fun and interactive, talking about the donation process and giving us photo ops throughout. I highly recommend her and Dellaria for kids cuts.

Once back home, I stared at the plastic bag that held the ponytail. I was still overwhelmed with the great options for hair donation organizations. I had done all this research on where to donate but, honestly, each one appears to be in it for the “right reasons” and it’s impossible to choose wrong. In the end, I decided to tap into Dana Farber Cancer Institute to see if they partner with a particular organization and indeed they do – Children With Hair Loss (CWHL). I liked going with a trusted local source where I found all the details via their partner program, Dana Farber’s Family and Parent Support program called Friends’ Place. This group offers patient support by offering the tools they need “to reclaim some of what you feel is lost” during an illness. They provide “hope, support and healing in a caring environment.”

And we’re going to do it all over again. My daughter needs another year to grow it out and now my younger daughter wants to have the experience for herself. There are so endless ways to teach our kids to give their time and resources to those in need and if you’re willing to brush knots and braid daily, donating hair is a wonderful option.

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Author: Holly

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