This time last year I donated my hair to charity. You might be thinking, why didn’t you raise money for an epilepsy charity? But at the time the issue of cancer was close to my heart.
It’s strange when situations happen to us personally, we just battle through them, but if something happens to the ones we love and care about, it affects our emotions deeper somehow. We want to remove the pain and suffering for them and we feel hopeless when there is nothing that we can do.
Cancer has unfortunately affected many people in my family and thankfully there have been good outcomes, but about two years ago I lost a good friend of mine to cancer and it was completely devastating. She was the one of those rare people who was a true friend. She always there for you when you needed her, we may not have seen each other for a while but when we did, you wouldn’t think any time had passed. She was always happy and smiling, and she was genuinely kind. Basically she had all the best qualities a person could have. We’d known each other since school and I always assumed that we would be in each other’s lives forever, which made it harder when I discovered that I wouldn’t see her anymore. No one wants to say goodbye to someone they care about.
Naturally this leaves a small gap in your life, even now I will be reminded of her, but more than anything I think of her family and her two sisters, I and think of how strong they are.
Last year I decided to try to turn my sadness into hope by trying to help others and raise money for cancer, and because I had very long hair at the time, I realised I could donate my hair and literally give something back.
After witnessing family members having chemotherapy I understood what it was like to lose your hair through cancer treatments. The main charity for hair donations is The Little Princess Trust which makes real hair wigs for children suffering hair loss from illnesses such as alopecia or cancer. This was the charity I decided to support.
Before I donated my hair, I had NEVER had my hair cut short before, so this was a huge step for me. In the end I donated 10 inches of my hair. It was a really strange sensation having so much hair being cut off all at once, feeling the weight disappearing, and holding it after was weird. I couldn’t believe just how heavy it felt.
My hairdresser was amazing; he helped raise loads of money for me and even cut my hair for free! In the end I raised nearly £1000.
The following weeks and months were unusual as I had loads of people commenting on my short hair. Even now if I meet someone I havent seen in a while they will notice that I have had my haircut.
During the past year, after trying a couple of short styles, I am now growing my hair again.
I have been going through the milestones where I could pin it back, and then tie it back. Although I didn’t mind having short hair, I also missed long hair a little, the one day I realised I could hold my hair comfortably in a ponytail, and there was a lot of hair there! Not tiny strands that escape before I had chance to throw a bobble around them, and I felt pleased. I then considered all the people recovering from cancer treatments that achieve these same milestones but feel a million times happier.
The odd thing I noticed was that I decided to donate my hair as sponsored runs etc. could mean a potential disaster for me and my epilepsy. But people were giving my excellent praise saying I was ‘brave’, as if it was something unusual, and even before I had my hair cut, my hairdressers were giving chances to back out if I wanted. Even though I appreciated their support, I thought – its only hair. Thinking, I’m lucky, my hair is healthy and it will grow back, and I wanted to help a child who needed it more than me.
I plan to keep growing my hair and have plans for another donation in the future.