Imagine being nine years old again, going to school everyday and making new friends. You spend your day playing outside and doing homework. You bike to the park and play with your dog, but when cancer strikes all of this changes. Instead of watching cartoons Saturday morning, you are going to the hospital for your chemotherapy treatment. Instead of making new friends, you’re bullied for always wearing a scarf and not being in school for weeks at a time. Most days you’re too sick to go anywhere and your best friend is your nurse. This is the reality for many children with cancer.
Every three minutes a child is diagnosed with a disease that could have them to go through chemotherapy that results have permanent hair loss, and years of suffering. When diagnosed patients are put on various medications that target rapidly dividing cells, that could be healthy or cancerous. Hair follicles are some of the fastest growing cells and are therefore damaged due to the medicine.
“One in 285 children will be diagnosed with cancer before their 20th birthday,” according to the American Childhood Cancer Organization.
Hair loss is something that can damage a child’s emotional state for the rest of their life. Children With Hair Loss is an organization that collects hair donations and turns them into hair prosthetics for kids as old as eighteen for free. It is a nonprofit that serves 300 children every year with custom wigs. Senior Helen Snyder is helping these children fight by donating her hair to this foundation.
“Every couple years I grow my hair out then cut it so I can donate to Children With Hair Loss. You are making a difference in someone’s life because if you have a wig you’ll feel more confident. This last time I donated ten and a half inches,” said Snyder.
The criteria for donating hair is that it’s at least eight inches for CWHL and twelve inches for Wigs for Kids. The hair can’t be color treated or gray, and must be bundled in braids or pony tails. It is as easy as going to your salon and asking them to cut it in donation fashion. Then you put it in a plastic bag and envelope and mail it to the organization you chose.
An anonymous Loy Norrix student talked about his experience with cancer. This student has now been in remission for eight years.
“I can tell you right now that chemotherapy sucks. They put me on steroids that caused hallucinations and night terrors. My hair turned blonde and fell out, but I rocked the bald look,” said the anonymous student.
He talked about his time in and out of the hospital, skipping school every time he had to get treatment and spending the entire day with the nurses and doctors.
Every day, children have to deal with the effects of cancer and it takes a toll on not only their physical health, but their emotional health too. Getting a wig can be a huge boost in a child’s self-esteem. So before you get your hair cut, consider the good you could do by donating it to children that need it.