By Gigi Ekstrom
Several members of the Lakehill community recently made the decision to donate a part of themselves to those in need: their hair.
Hair donations make a huge difference for women and children with cancer, medical conditions, or trauma resulting in hair loss. Natural hair donations allow for a broader range of real hair colors and textures, and real hair wigs are much more life-like.
There are several organizations that turn long locks into free or low-cost wigs for people with cancer. The donated ponytails are utilized to provide high quality hair prosthetics, which help return a sense of self, confidence, and normalcy to those suffering from hair loss.
Lakehill art teacher Sacha Troxler (pictured on the left) says she has wanted to donate her hair for more than a decade. “I always lost my patience trying to let it grow those last few inches that are required when donating,” she said. Most organizations require a minimum of 8” of hair to donate. “I finally made it!” After learning about Children with Hair Loss from the Patels, she also selected them because they provide wigs to financially disadvantaged children free of charge.
“I am thrilled to have a new summer hairdo while being able to help others. I hope to be able to do it again in another three or four years.”
Lakehill fourth grader Mary Greenwood recently cut 12 inches off of her hair to donate to Locks of Love. Greenwood said she first considered donating after watching her grandmother lose her hair while battling cancer. “After my grandmother died, I really thought about it and decided I wanted to help children who were going through the same thing,” she explained. Greenwood says she wants to donate again when she is able. “It took me about eight years to get my hair long enough to donate, so I guess I will have to wait another eight years!”
Lakehill Preparatory School fifth grader Maya Patel decided when she was five years old that she wanted to cut her long hair and told her mother she wanted to donate it to charity. While there are several reputable organizations to donate to, Maya selected Children with Hair Loss, because it goes specifically to children. “It must be so hard to be going through cancer and lose your hair,” Patel said.
Maya (pictured at right) has been cutting and donating her hair every year since then. She gets her hair cut before school starts and then lets it grow out through the year, typically donating 12 to 18 inches of hair. Maya’s hair is so thick that they should be able to make three wigs from it. Maya added, “It really helps kids get through a tough time. I know it would mean a lot to me if I were going through that.”
Maya’s mother, Sejal, began donating her own hair when she was in high school. She is proud of her daughter’s decision. “To a person who is going through so much in life, it is powerful to be able to bring some happiness and normalcy through the small act of donating hair,” she said. “I hope my child is learning to give back to the world in whatever little way she can.”