Wednesday, September 8, 2010

How and Why to Donate Your Hair!

For about two years now, I have been growing my hair out in order to donate it to charity. I got the idea when I came back from the field and my hair had grown out so much that after a cut, it was pretty much all my natural hair colour – one of the requirements for making a hair donation.

I hate growing my hair out. I haven’t really had long hair since I was in high school, so I decided it was time to see what long hair was like again. Now, in order to donate hair, you have to meet the minimum length requirements. Most people have heard of Locks of Love – they have a minimum donation length of 10”. I didn’t feel I would have the patience to grow my hair that long, so I went for the Pantene Beautiful Lengths, who only require a donation length of 8”. Having a goal was what forced me to keep going through all the times I REALLY wanted to cut my hair off - not because I didn't like it long, but I have a tendency to get bored with it...

A few weeks ago, I measured, and realized that my hair had passed the 8” mark. I was enjoying my long hair, but since it’s a pain in the ass in the field, I decided to get it cut off and make the donation. So during my last break, that’s what I did.

Making a hair donation is super simple. You just go to your regular hairdresser, and before they wash your hair, while it is clean and dry, you get them to tie it into a ponytail at the nape of your neck and cut above the elastic, saving the ponytail for a donation. The ponytail itself has to meet the minimum length requirement for the donation.

You then get your hair styled as you wish. As for the ponytail, you put it in a zip-loc bag to mail it to your charity of choice. I find it kind of funny that my hair went to Wisconsin without me… They collect hair to be made into wigs that will be donated to people with illnesses that cause hair loss. Pantene Beautiful Lengths makes wigs for cancer patients. Funny thing about that...

I went into the office today to grab a couple of things before heading back up North, and saw a bunch of people in the office I haven’t seen much this summer. There was a lot of talk about my new hair cut and my reason for growing out my hair, when one of my co-workers (who had been away on maternity leave and had no idea about my plan to donate my hair) grabbed me and pulled me into our corporate secretary’s office. It turns out that while I was away, our corporate secretary was diagnosed with breast cancer, and is currently going through chemotherapy. She now wears a wig, partly made by donated human hair like my own (wouldn’t it be creepy if it was mine?). Everyone in the office was thanking me for the donation – it made me feel so amazingly great.

For once, I was pretty sure I had done something right, and it made me feel so proud. It’s such a simple thing to give. I know some people who make a hair donation every year, and call for as many people they know to do it. I highly recommend it – for me, it was nothing but a positive experience, and I'm sure it enriched the life of someone else in the process.

Also, I really like my new short hair! Here's the only (fuzzy) photo I could find of it from PAX (I was mostly wearing various hats - here at least it was only kitty ears). PAX was awesome and I will post on it tomorrow!

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