In 2013, Shailene Woodley, chopped off her hair to prepare for her role in “The Fault in Our Stars,” she donated her locks to Children With Hair Loss, an organization that provides free wigs to kids who have experienced hair loss either due to cancer, burns, or other medical conditions.
“The Fault in Our Stars,” focuses on a 16-year-old cancer patient named Hazel Grace, who falls in love with a boy named Augustus (played by Ansel Elgort) in a support group as they both deal with their illnesses.
If your local hair salon does not have a hair donation program, you can still donate your hair by sending your hair yourself through the mail to a number of national programs such as:
Wigs for Kids
“For over 30 years, Wigs for Kids has been providing Hair Replacement Systems and support for children who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy, radiation therapy, Alopecia, Trichotillomania, burns and other medical issues at no cost to children or their families,” according to their website.
Pantene Beautiful Lengths
“Beautiful Lengths is a partnership between Pantene and the American Cancer Society, the largest nonprofit health organization committed to saving lives from every cancer and improving the quality of life for people facing the disease. The role of Pantene is to help women grow long, strong, beautiful hair and provide the funds to turn this hair into free, real-hair wigs for women with cancer. So far, Pantene has donated 24,000 free real-hair wigs to the American Cancer Society’s wig banks, which distribute wigs to cancer patients across the country,” according to their website.
Children With Hair Loss
“Children With Hair Loss was created as a resource for all children who have medically-related hair loss. It is our mission to empower these children to become whole again by making hair replacement available to those who may be financially challenged and might otherwise not have a means of obtaining the hair they want and need. Our goal is to assist as many of these children as possible in changing their lives by improving their outlook and empowering them with a degree of self-confidence that will allow them to face the world with renewed self-esteem,” according to their website.
Rebecca Epskamp has donated her hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths in the past.
“When I was younger, I had a cousin who I loved and admired so much. I was only able to see her a few times a year, but the times that we were together, I valued those the most. I have always had long hair, it is something that I have grown used to and it is as if it is my security blanket. When my cousin was eleven, she was diagnosed with leukemia and immediately went through all of the treatments that would help, including chemotherapy and radiation and, because of that, she lost her hair. Whenever I was able to visit her, she would often play with my hair and tell me how much she loved it. While my mother and I were driving home from a visit one day, she had told me how there were organizations that took donations of hair. I wanted to do that, to show solidarity and strength with my cousin, so I started growing my hair out even longer than before. Unfortunately, my cousin passed away at the age of thirteen and was not able to see me donate, but I did it for her. She was my incentive to donate, to help others and provide that sense of happiness that she seemed to have,” Epskamp said.
The hair donation process hits even closer to home for Epskamp for the reason that her mother was diagnosed with cancer in July of 2015.
“My family has been affected by cancer a lot, I have not really thought about it until my mom was diagnosed with it. Cancer is a poisoned word to me because of everyone that I have lost or known who has been affected by it. While not every hair donation goes to a person with cancer, a majority of it does and that is why I donate my hair,” Epskamp added.
Donating hair for cancer patients and other patients who have lost their hair due to their illnesses, is both easy to do and rewarding. Those who donate feel good knowing their hair has helped out someone who really needs it.
by Mackenzie Nestor