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Give The Gift Of Hair To Someone Suffering Hair Loss From Cancer Or Alopecia

Updated on June 21, 2012

You Can Give The Gift Of Hair

This Hub is dedicated to my beloved friend in England
This Hub is dedicated to my beloved friend in England | Source

Why We Grow Long Locks

Loss of hair is a traumatic occurrence for anyone, male or female. Hair loss is caused by several factors which are mainly Alopecia and Cancer. More than five million people in the United States and one and a half million in Great Britain alone are living with the pain of Alopecia.

Alopecia is the common medical term for abnormal or excessive hair loss. Alopecia comes in many forms and can cause a total or partial loss of hair, temporary or permanent. It creates feeling of loss, shame unattractiveness, embarrassment and other emotions in the sufferer. Often the person withdraws and becomes isolated and is cut off from friends, family and social circles.

Alopecia is a broad term description and does not refer to one specific form of hair loss. Alopecia is caused by many conditions. Some are hereditary while others are brought on by environmental factors, drugs, hormones, cancer treatments and other causes.

The most common type of hair loss we see is Male or Female Pattern Baldness Alopecia. However hundreds of diseases have hair loss as symptoms and side effects of drug treatments. Many people have hair loss as a result of chemical processes applied to their hair. These include bleach, permanent wave and relaxer treatments, some of which contain lye and can cause scarring alopecia.

Cancer treatments for children and adults often results in hair loss and account for the second greatest need for hair replacement. Chemotherapy and radiation treatments target cancer cells and other fast growing cells including hair roots. Loss may include the head, eyelashes, eyebrows, arms and other parts of the body. This is traumatic for the person who wakes up to discover a clump of hair on his or her pillow. Imagine the child whose hair remains in the comb and the mother holding the comb. Their reaction must be of stunned disbelief.

Other causes of hair loss:

  • Ectodermal Dysplasia-A disorder that affects the formation of the ectoderm. Extremely sparse hair can be a result of ectoderm abnormality.
  • Loose Anagen Syndrome-An abnormality where hair is thin and normally does not grow beyond the nape of the neck.
  • Trichotillomania-Compulsive and repetitive hair pulling.
  • Telogen Effluvium-Diffuse but excessive shedding related to sudden stress.
  • Trauma-burns, accidents, dog attacks, etc.

Many jokes and cartoons have been made popular by picturing bald men. There is nothing funny about it and not only men are affected. Women make up forty percent of hair loss sufferers. Loss of self esteem in women with Alopecia can be devastating and has been documented as leading to suicide in several cases. The psychological damage and pain caused by hair loss and feeling unattractive can take an emotional toll that directly affects physical health. Women have historically considered their hair a “crowning glory” and entire industries have been birthed from this love of hair. It is just more accepted in society for men to have full or partial hair loss than women.

Children suffer greatly from hair loss which can result from cancer treatments, alopecia conditions or environmental factors. They are stared at, become the object teasing and barbs, get sunburn on their head, and a myriad of other embarrassments. Three percent of all pediatrician visits are because of hair loss.

We can all help relieve the suffering in a way that costs nothing and is easy and fun. Grow your hair long! It is that easy. Many organizations exist that collect and make wigs and hairpieces for hair loss sufferers. Once the hair has been grown and one is ready to donate the process is very easy to arrange. Select the agency trusted with your donation. Locks Of Love may be the most well known but is certainly not the only one. Many are easily found on the internet through a quick Google search. Read the Frequently Asked Questions for each organization as they all have slightly different criteria. To get you started here is a short list of contacts:

· Locks Of Love

· Wigs For Kids

· The Children’s Alopecia Project

· The Corinne Fund at World Of Wigs(accepts grey hair)

· Wigfund

· Pantene Beautiful Lengths

· Cancer Care

· The American Hair Loss Association

· Pantene Beautiful Lengths

· Angel Hair For Kids

· The American Cancer Society

Most require the hair be at least ten inches long and be in a natural state-free of chemical processing. Up to two inches of length is lost during processing, which leaves about eight inches of hair, approximately chin length. Many recipients are little girls who love long hair. So the longer the locks donated, the better.

It is suggested that the hair be cut by a professional but it is not required. They just know how to cut better!

· Hair must be required length of 10-12 inches-see individual requirements

· Clean and dry

· Not chemically treated, temporary washout color is acceptable

· Part hair in center of the head; pull over each ear, then part front and back of ear into ponytails. The more ponytails, the less hair is lost

· Rubber band or tie hair into 4-6 sections tightly, loose hair cannot be used

· Cut hair above band

· Place in a plastic bag and seal

· Mail in a sealed envelope to the organization of choice

Anyone can grow his or her hair and donate it to a person who has hair loss. My eight year old son is currently growing his for this reason. Once you donate, you have just given hope, self esteem, validation and compassion to a person who is struggling with the stigma and uncomfortable loss of life quality life due to hair loss. It really is easy and rewarding to help.

Good growing and know you are blessed to be a blessing!

Growing Locks Out Of Love

Source

Matters Of Interest

 Some people donating are concerned their hair may not get to be used for hair loss recipients. Most organizations sell hair they cannot use to raise money for offsetting overhead costs. Read the FAQ s for each organization to learn their policy on this. Also, Locks Of Love gives hair prosthetics free of charge or based on a sliding scale. Here is a link to their application.

http://www.locksoflove.org/HairPieceApplication.pdf

PLEASE READ THIS COPYRIGHT NOTICE


© Brenda Barnes) All Rights Reserved

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  • Hyphenbird profile image
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    Brenda Barnes 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    Hi Sam. I am in the United States so I am not familiar with any UK organizations. Call some local hair salons or wig banks. They should be able to set you on the right path. Thanks so much for stopping by. I commend you for what you are doing.

  • profile image

    Sam from UK 4 years ago

    Hi Im planning on cutting my hair in 6wks time on the anniversary of my mum who died of cancer in 2009, I will be cutting off a good amount n def want to donate! Can anyone point me in the right direction? i dont want to make a mistake ..Thankyou in advance

  • Hyphenbird profile image
    Author

    Brenda Barnes 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    Hi Gail. Alas, when he decided it was long enough we whacked it off here at home. I think I do have a couple of photos though. My camera is forever ready. Thank you for the votes. My little boy is a hero in my eyes for doing this. I will let him know you are excited about his hard work.

  • Hyphenbird profile image
    Author

    Brenda Barnes 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    peachpower, that is amazing. Three feet! That must have been beautiful. I do think losing hair is harder for women but traumatic for men also. One reason is because of the jokes and ridicule from the media. By treating one another with unfailing respect and honor, we can change the world one loving heart at a time. Thank you so much for reading this and for your comments.

  • Hyphenbird profile image
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    Brenda Barnes 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    healthylife2, that testimonial is heart shattering in a great way. To forget just for a moment must be a lovely gift. I cannot tell you what it means to me that you came back to reread and share this Hub. I shall tell my son about your story. He has just started growing his hair again and this will encourage him. Thank you!

  • Gail Meyers profile image

    Gail Meyers 4 years ago from United States

    Another awesome hub, HyphenBird! I hope you will add a picture to this hub when your son is getting his ponytail cut. Voted up and beautiful.

  • peachpower profile image

    peachpower 4 years ago from Florida

    I LOVE THIS HUB!!!! How wonderful- I was particularly appreciative upon reading the part about the cartoons of bald men and how it really isn't funny. You are SO right. In my experience, losing hair for whatever reason is a lot harder on women than men, but it's still a pretty sensitive topic for the guys too. When I was 18, I cut off 3 feet of my hair and donated it to Locks of Love. Thanks for an awesome Hub.

  • healthylife2 profile image

    Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

    I know that I already commented but there is no way to really thank those that are willing to donate their hair. One night in the middle of chemo I took my wig off before bed and my younger son said he completely forgot that I was going through anything. I realized the value of both myself and my family forgetting and giving our minds a break from the stress. I noticed we all laughed so much more when we were able to "forget" for a while. Being bald makes it impossible to forget for even a minute. My wig was made form human hair and looked natural and also gave me the confidence to go out in public. I am now wearing hair extensions which would not be possible without donations form other kind people. I am sharing this hub!

  • Hyphenbird profile image
    Author

    Brenda Barnes 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    moonlake, if you let the color grow out you could donate often. They will take grey hair but not processed hair. It is a wonderful and loving gesture when children and youth think so highly of others and grow their hair for that special reason. Thank you for stopping by this Hub. I wish it got more traffic.

  • moonlake profile image

    moonlake 4 years ago from America

    I have known many young girls that give their hair to lock of love. So nice when teens get involved in giving hair. No one would want mine it grows so fast wouldn't take me long to have enough but it's not all natural. Great hub voted uP!

  • Hyphenbird profile image
    Author

    Brenda Barnes 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    healthylife2, I am glad someone who has benefited from hair donations came by. Thank you for leaving these comments. I will share them with my son. He is planning to grow his hair again and donate it. I pray your health is good now and you are fully recovered.

  • healthylife2 profile image

    Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

    Thank you for providing great information to donate hair to help others with hair loss. After losing my hair from chemotherapy I relied on human hair wigs and ultimately hair extensions to feel "normal" and look healthy when I looked in the mirror during my recovery. It was something I used every day and gave me that much needed emotional boost.

  • Hyphenbird profile image
    Author

    Brenda Barnes 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    cmahan, I believe doing this is a great service and ministry. I commend you highly for your dedication. I wish more people thought of this when they cut their long hair. I tried to get my son's cub scout troop involved but the parents were not on board. My boy intends to start growing his again in early fall. I love his long hair anyway. Thanks for stopping by.

  • cmahan profile image

    Chrystal Mahan 5 years ago from Michigan

    I've donated my hair for the last 4 years in honor of my cousins daughter who was diagnosed with brain cancer 4 years ago and lost her hair. I donate through the Pantene Beautiful Lengths/American Cancer Society program. I have lost both grandparents, relatives and friends to this horrible disease, so if I can give my hair to those who need it then that is what I will do since I do not have a lot of money to give.

  • Hyphenbird profile image
    Author

    Brenda Barnes 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    mollymeadows, my little boy is really the one who had the idea and suffered the teasing and all the indignities. I do believe in helping others be comfortable and comforted. Thank you very much for the visit, votes and shares.

  • mollymeadows profile image

    Mary Strain 5 years ago from The Shire

    Hyph, you're a humanitarian. Up and sharing!

  • heather.h profile image

    heather.h 5 years ago from UK

    Hyphen, you must be so proud of your little boy. The ignorance of others cannot compete with the good deed your son is doing.He's a star.

  • Hyphenbird profile image
    Author

    Brenda Barnes 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    Heather, my little boy is growing his hair for someone who has lost theirs. That little eight year old has been so persecuted for having long hair. It is unreal. Thank you for stopping in to read this. It is important to me that people know the need.

  • heather.h profile image

    heather.h 5 years ago from UK

    thank you Hyphenbird for bringing the subject to the fore. An inspiring and informative piece. This is not something I had previously thought about, but I definitely will now. Hugs.

  • Hyphenbird profile image
    Author

    Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    cmaham, the children are so very strong. Their courage humbles me. I will look for your Hub about the ways you are helping. My friend is still undergoing chemo and has good days and not so good. But her spirit is so beautiful and light even when her body suffers. Thank you so much for who you are and how you stay involved.

  • cmahan profile image

    Chrystal Mahan 6 years ago from Michigan

    I also forgot to mention, 4 years ago was when my 3 year old cousin was diagnosed with brain cancer. Prior to that the only cancer projects I was involved with was relay for life and bake sales. It was seeing that poor baby with no hair that sparked my interest in "finding something else" something more I could do. Although she has had to have countless surgeries and treatments, she is still alive and just turned 7. She has really made me look at myself and how I live my life. Here is this little girl that only knows one way of life right now and she never complains. There is nothing in this world I could complain about that would compare to what she has had to go through.

    I have jotted down a few ideas for a new hub. My church is very active in Relay for Life and doing bake sales for raising money. I think all could benefit from me writing a hub as well as putting post on my writing site (selfemployedwriter.com)

    I am sorry to hear of your friend. Is she in remission now?

  • Hyphenbird profile image
    Author

    Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    toknowinfo, thanks for the visit and letting us know about your daughters gift. I hope this Hub inspires many to help.

  • toknowinfo profile image

    toknowinfo 6 years ago

    Great hub. My daughters donated their hair to locks of love. It was very gratifying for them. It feels good to be able to help others, and it is empowering for kids. Thanks for putting this hub together. Rated up and useful.

  • Hyphenbird profile image
    Author

    Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    cmahan, the inspiration was a fellow Hubber who lost her hair from chemo treatments. Good for you for donating yourhair. People like you are unsung heros. My sympathis to you on the loss of your family and friend. It is so hard to witness that kind of suffering.

    Thanks for stopping in and reading this very important Hub. It is close to my heart.

  • cmahan profile image

    Chrystal Mahan 6 years ago from Michigan

    I never thought about writing a hub about this! I have donated my hair every year for the last 4 to the American Cancer Society and Pantene for cancer patients. I lost both of my grandparents to cancer. Watched my best friend die from it in 3 months and countless friends diagnose & battle it. Thank you for an inspiring hub!!

  • Hyphenbird profile image
    Author

    Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    Thaks RTalloni. I appreciate that. My hope is this will help someone know how easily we can make a person feel better. My 8 year old boy is cutrrently growing his hair for Locks of Love.

    I appreciate the visit and comments.

  • RTalloni profile image

    RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

    Wow. Who knew it was this easy? Not only have you explained it well, but you have provided important info, some of which donors might not think about until after the fact. Well done, and thanks. Voted up and awesome.

  • Hyphenbird profile image
    Author

    Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    Dexis, thank you! It is so great to hear from a hairdresser. And thanks for the visit. I think this is a subject that needs more attention.

  • DexisView profile image

    Dexi 6 years ago from New England

    Great hub, Hyphenbird, with a wonderful message. My sister & daughter are both hairdressers and this is a wonderful thing to do.

  • Hyphenbird profile image
    Author

    Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    Big smiles here Bumpsysmum:):):):):):):):):)

  • Bumpsysmum profile image

    Bumpsysmum 6 years ago from Cambridgeshire

    Thank you friend Hyphenbird, for your constant and welcomed support :-)

  • Hyphenbird profile image
    Author

    Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    Thanks Sharyn. I think your sister and her friends are heros. And I am glad you liked the Hub and found it informative. I enjoyed writing it.

  • Sharyn's Slant profile image

    Sharon Smith 6 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

    Great informative article Hyphenbird. One of my sisters is a pre-school teacher and her and several of her co-workers grew their hair long for a couple years to donate to a student at their school who had cancer. I always felt that was such a wonderful gift.

  • always exploring profile image

    Ruby Jean Fuller 6 years ago from Southern Illinois

    Yes i am, but it's difficult.If i can just get past the hair bugging the neck stage, i'll make it.

    Cheers

  • Hyphenbird profile image
    Author

    Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    Hello always, good to see you here tonight. I know you must miss your hair. It is a part of us. When I cut my waist length hair it was traumatic. My hair is very curly so it felt like part of my personality went also. Are you growing your hair back?

  • always exploring profile image

    Ruby Jean Fuller 6 years ago from Southern Illinois

    What a wonderful gift to give. When i had my hair cut, the operator sat on the floor to make the first cut. I wore it in one braid that was down below my waist. I miss it terribly. I was 50 and the thinking was short hair should only be worn by the young. If i had it to do over, i would never have it cut. Short hair is more difficult to take care of. If i had known of this need i would have given gladly. Thank you for a really good hub.

    Cheers

  • Hyphenbird profile image
    Author

    Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    Simone Smith, I knew very little myself before beginning this research. Now my heart is tender toward sufferers.

    Thanks for the visit and happy hair growing!

  • Hyphenbird profile image
    Author

    Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    Teylina, it truly is my honor to publish this Hub. And you are so sweet in your caring for our own dear Will and his girls. It must have been a painful disappointment and the organization should have been more open and truthful.

    Most are ethical and operate in integrity, thank God.

    And thank you for your visit. You are always a joy here in Hyphenbird Hubland!

  • Hyphenbird profile image
    Author

    Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    Bumpsysmum-Surprise! My prayer is that this information will let people know how esily they can help. You and your poem were my inspiration. Though we have never met, you are my friend and I look for ways to help relieve your pain and to bring you some joy.

  • Hyphenbird profile image
    Author

    Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    Hi marcoujor, your kindness humbles me. Thank you very much.

    I hope this Hub helps many to see how easily we all can help someone. You are so right. This subject is close to all our hearts and many loved ones suffer needlessly.

    Thanks for the visit and votes!

  • Hyphenbird profile image
    Author

    Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    Dave Mathews, you may be onto something there. Also the dryness caused by covering the head and from the cold dry air may be factors. I hope she finds relief and healing. Thanks for the visit, it is always good to see you.

  • Hyphenbird profile image
    Author

    Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    Ken Barton, I read about that condition that your niece suffers from. I kept wanting to write about the causes but had to rein myself in to focus on the gift of hair. I pray your niece finds healing and restoration. Thanks for stopping in.

  • Simone Smith profile image

    Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

    I'm so glad you wrote this Hub, Hyphenbird! I had never even heard of Alopecia before- how scary! Now I really want to help... guess I had better keep growing out my hair!

  • profile image

    Teylina 6 years ago

    Oh, Will, how horrible to find you've been tricked that way! I have a very good friend who donated, and I can't imagine her reaction if it had not gone where it did. Thank you, Hyphenbird, for getting the msg out, and thank you, WillStarr, for reminding us we can be "taken."

  • Bumpsysmum profile image

    Bumpsysmum 6 years ago from Cambridgeshire

    Hyphenbird, you absolute sweetie!

    What a fantastic way to help people. As you know I have lost all my hair through cancer treatment and I would be lost without my wig.

    This is a brilliant hub and thank you for your support and this excellent information.

    I will mention this to my friends and see if I can persuade some to donate! :-)

  • marcoujor profile image

    Maria Jordan 6 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

    Hyphenbird~~ What a detailed and inspiring piece of work about a subject so close to many of us... Voted UP & BEAUTIFUL, just like you...!

  • Dave Mathews profile image

    Dave Mathews 6 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

    Hyphenbird: my darling wife is beginning to suffer from pattern baldness. I'm beginning to wonder though if it may not be caused by the harsh winters we face as she keeps her head smoothered in thick hoods on her coats as she ventures out.

  • Ken Barton profile image

    Ken Barton 6 years ago

    One of my nieces has a hair loss issue that they treat with an immune suppressor, because her immune system is so strong it recognizes her hair as a foreign body, and makes it fall out. Needless to say though, she almost never gets sick. PTL

  • Hyphenbird profile image
    Author

    Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    My pleasure Sunnie. I was reminded of the pain one goes through when losing her hair when it happened to a friend. Then I thought to share with others how easy it is to help.

    Thanks for the visit and the kind words.

  • profile image

    Sunnie Day 6 years ago

    A beautiful gift that one could give. Thank you for sharing and the reminder.

    God Bless,

    Sunnie

  • Hyphenbird profile image
    Author

    Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    Most if not all of the organizations sell hair that they cannot use to offset their overhead costs. For example, Lock Of Love makes hair for children so they cannot use grey hair. That might have been the issuse with your wife's hair, your daughter of course I have no idea. Here are some FAQ from the Locks Of Love website and I am adding a link to the application in the Hub.

    1. Q. Does Locks of Love sell hair? A. Hair that is short, gray, or otherwise unusable will be sold to help offset manufacturing costs.

    2. Q. Can I donate gray hair?

    A. Yes, we can accept donations of gray hair. Because we only provide hairpieces to children, we cannot use this hair in a hairpiece but will sell it to offset our manufacturing costs.

    . What do the children pay for these hairpieces?

    A. We provide hairpieces and repairs free of charge or on a sliding scale based on the financial need of those responsible for the children.

    Thanks for your concern WillStarr. We appreciate you watching out for us.

  • WillStarr profile image

    WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

    Use caution.

    Ask whether your gift of hair might be sold for cash. My wife and daughter learned later that their hair donations were being sold as surplus!

    http://badhairday.typepad.com/bad_hair_day/2006/07...

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