As a teen during the 70’s, I learned to love long hair. I always had a massive amount of dark blonde hair which I kept very long. I started life with wild red hair, which turned light blonde during my childhood and then a dark reddish-blonde as an adult. As I get older the color is getting a little darker with white streaks around the edges, of course. I never dyed it, preferring to keep whatever color God gave me, variable as it is.
The thing about long hair is, that it gets to the point where it owns you, almost defines you. Life can’t be imagined with short hair. Every single morning, I would braid it in a french braid, it was too heavy for a pony tail. While I worked at the jail, I tucked it into the back of my scrub top so it couldn’t be used as a means to grab and hold onto me. People described me as the tall woman with the long braid.
A woman is often defined by her hair, to a certain extent. It certainly is an important part of her appearance, and any drastic change in hair style has an important impact on her self impression and confidence, either boosting it or affecting it in a negative way. A trip to the hair salon can be nerve wracking if you aren’t confident in their ability to make your hair look good. Teenagers have been known to hibernate in their rooms, mortified that their hair didn’t look right. Your hair means a lot.
So, we come to people who are fighting the fight against cancer, and have to endure chemotherapy. Many types of chemo will cause alopecia, or loss of hair. It will fall out in clumps, leaving you bald as an egg. It will eventually grow back after the chemo is finished, starting as a soft fuzz, but in the mean time you have months of baldness to deal with. I recently heard a woman on the radio talking about her experience with breast cancer. She talked more about her reaction and her children’s reaction to the loss of her hair, than the loss of her breasts. Her daughters were mortified at the thought of their mom with no hair. This brave woman’s way to cope was to have her hair shaved off ahead of time and to pick out wigs which resembled her daughter’s favorite pop singers’ hair. It brought tears to my eyes to listen to her. Thank God she is now cancer free.
Last year, I decided to break the hold my hair had on me, and cut it off. Well, 12 inches worth. I sent it on to an organization that uses the hair to make wigs for cancer patients. Then six months later, I did it again, the last 12 inches. Now I have a “normal” hair style, just to my shoulders. I am blessed with hair that has some curl to it, so I don’t have to fuss much. Hair styling is not a talent of mine. It was a little traumatic to feel the hair come off, the other ladies at the salon were all smiles, but it was hard for me.
My prayer is that the girl or woman that gets a wig with some of my hair in it can feel some of the love and encouragement I sent along with it. I imagine it is bad enough to have to fight cancer and endure the surgery and chemotherapy and radiation, without having to feel the loss of your hair, too. Those cute little turbans are one thing, but to me, they look like a sign that says “I have cancer”. Personally, I would prefer not to attract that kind of attention, and hide the issue with a wig. So, for those ladies who aren’t the turban type: I sent my hair. I hope it helps them through a difficult time.
If any of my readers feel the desire donate their hair for this cause, there are some stipulations. The hair can not have been treated for color or had a perm, it can not be grey, I guess that will preclude me from doing it again. The hair is to be rubber banded in a ponytail and freshly washed. The length needs to be at least 10-12 inches depending on who you send it to.
Here are links to some of the organizations that accept donated hair:
I hope you consider doing this great thing!