As some of you know, hubby Steve has been growing his hair for many months. He started off wanting to grow it out long enough to donate, and I think he still might, but he’s in that awkward in-between stage and getting a bit frustrated. So, I feel a bit bad for beating him to it by chopping off ten inches last week. It’s not something I had been planning for long, but I was recently struck by the desire for a change. I will admit to being a bit nervous, but the excitement of something new outweighed any anxiety, and in the end, it’s just hair. Speaking as someone who works with people who have cancer, I feel fortunate to have my hair and fortunate that it will grow back, so I didn’t want to get too precious about the whole thing.
I walked out of the salon with a big ponytail of hair, and now I am going to figure out where to donate it. It helps that Steve did some of the legwork already. There are several organizations that take hair donations to make wigs for people in need. From my reading, it is possible with any of these groups that your hair will not be used by them for a wig, if it doesn’t meet some requirement (eg. length), in which case it could be sold and the money used towards covering their costs. This doesn’t really bother me that much. I can see how it is disappointing when you think your hair is going to a sick child or adult, and it ends up somewhere else, but I feel like if my hair can’t be used for a wig and still helps out a good cause, I’m okay with that.
In all cases, your hair should be clean and held in a ponytail or braid. It is okay to combine multiple small ponytails, and you’ll actually get more length that way. The hair should be thoroughly dry, placed in a plastic zipper bag and in padded envelope. Be sure to get the postage for your precious package calculated, so it doesn’t get lost or returned.
Locks of Love is the charity with the greatest name recognition. Here’s a summary of their organization, and there are more details on their website.
- non-profit organization
- wigs are given to children under age 21, most of whom have alopecia areata
- minimum of 10 inches of hair
- hair can be colored or permed but not bleached
Pantene Beautiful Lengths/ American Cancer Society is another program that collects hair donations to make wigs. Again there are more details on their website.
- Pantene is a commercial company, but they donate the wigs to the American Cancer Society, which is a non-profit organization
- wigs are given to women who have cancer
- minimum of 8 inches of hair
- hair cannot be chemically treated in any way
Angel Hair Foundation is another non-profit organization that give wigs to children in Oregon who have hair loss due to a variety of condition. They ask for a minimum of 12 inches of hair that can be chemically treated, as long as it is in good condition.
Wigs for Kids accepts donations of hair that is at least 12 inches long and not chemically treated. I guess their name says it all about their cause!
Childhood Leukemia Foundation takes hair donations that are 10 inches or longer and not chemically treated to make wigs for children with leukemia.
Angel Hair for Kids, a part of A Child’s Voice is a Canadian non-profit organization that donates wigs to children with a variety of illnesses throughout Canada.
It seems like there are a lot of good options, and it’s likely you won’t go wrong with any of these organizations. I am going to send my hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths this time (yes! I am inspired to do this again in the future!), since I just barely have 10 inches, and I think once the straggly ends are cut off, it will be less. I know the American Cancer Society does a lot of incredible good work in a variety of areas from supporting people with cancer to research and education, so I am happy to be part of that, too.