What a Difference a Lock (of Hair that is!) Makes in the Fight Against Cancer!

Magnanimity with Locks (of Hair!)  

Well, well, well, today we have a real doozy that we’re sure you’ll love! So, we recently learned of this wonderful organization call Locks of Love that makes arrangements to collect hair from donors (people who have long hair and are willing to send Locks of Love their … well locks J once they’ve been trimmed!), and use them to make wigs and other hair accoutrements for those afflicted by cancer that have lost hair due to chemotherapy or radiation treatment, and make these available free of cost.

Now this is very big deal indeed, when you consider that some of these wigs can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $6,000 a piece. That’s a big deal, given that just the cancer treatment alone can be hugely expensive for patients and their families.

(We’re sure all of us have seen or experienced the devastating impact that cancer treatment can have on a patient – the loss of one’s hair is not only depressing and tough to deal with, it has a direct impact on people’s happiness, self-esteem, and sense of well-being. So, anything we can do to help boost their morale and spirits can have a true impact on the lives of cancer sufferers.)

Childhood Cancer in the US: Some Sobering Facts …

In the US, for example, cancer is the second most common cause of death among children 1-14 years old, surpassed only by accidents. Surprising, isn’t it!? Among the 12 major types of childhood cancers, leukemias and cancers of the brain and central nervous system account for more than half the new cases. The good news, however, is that childhood cancer deaths have been declining, and in the past 25 years there have been significant improvements in the five-year relative survival rates for all the major childhood cancers as per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The 2012 Facts and Figures from the American Cancer Society for the US are here. As of January 2008, the latest year for which figures are available, about 12 million Americans alive had a history of cancer, and about 1.6 million new cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2012, while almost half a million people are expected to die of cancer this year. Cancer is therefore the second leading cause of death in the US, accounting for nearly 25% of deaths.

The Healing Power of a Simple Concept … Hair Donation & What it Takes!

Given these statistics and given what Locks of Love was seeking to do, I was totally captivated by their idea – the simplicity and value were immense! An easy yet powerful concept – donating one’s hair, not something we ordinarily think about as an item to donate – with  such far reaching impact in terms of changing people’s lives, by helping them gain their self-image back. How incredible!

So, my mother and I decided that this is a worthy cause to donate to, and we immediately set out to understand what the requirements were. The requirements are actually quite simple: you have to have hair long enough to donate 8-10 inches of  it, you need to wash and dress them prior to cutting, braid them or tie them in a pony tail, and then … cut them off – snip, snip! That’s it! Put the hair in a transparent Ziploc or equivalent bag, and mail it to Locks of Love at the address provided on their website. Done!

What We Did & How …

And, that’s exactly what we did on that sunny California Sunday afternoon. You’ll see the pictures and a quick video of it here, which shows you what we did. For me, it was a welcome change of looks, as I’m enjoying the privileges that come with having short hair – no tangles, much easier combing, and dressing my hair in a jiffy.

Remember to Give … The Gift of Joy … Through Your Hair

In fact, my mom contacted Chris Zavadovski, a renowned Internet entrepreneur friend, who has been committed to the fight against cancer because both his mom and dad have grappled with it – and emerged victorious! Chris was kind enough to contact the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, who he supports ardently and has done fundraising for, and informed us about two other cool programs that do similar work: Wigs for Kids, whose mission is to help children (with cancer or other diseases that cause hair loss) look themselves and live their lives, and Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths, which helps women fighting cancer receive free, real-hair wigs, and look and feel beautiful again!

So, let’s all remember to give this a thought the next time we get our hair trimmed!

Perhaps even delay it just a bit to be able to get locks that are at least 8 inches long, and do consider donating them to Locks of Love or another organization (e.g. Wigs for Kids), for the worthy cause of helping patients (both kids and adults) with cancer, or those that may have lost hair due to other causes, such as alopecia, lupus, and so on.

I assure you, it will make you feel awesomely good about having those locks cut, and growing them back later, knowing that a cancer patient’s smile is a bit brighter, their walk a bit springier, and their heart a bit merrier ‘cause of the difference your hair is making for them! (In fact, I’ve already pledged my next set of locks to Wigs for Kids :-) )

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One Response to “What a Difference a Lock (of Hair that is!) Makes in the Fight Against Cancer!”

  1. vimi rath says:

    Keep it up urvi! you are doing a very good job!

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