Cancer stands as one of the most deadliest diseases to have plagued humans. The awareness that a person’s days are limited can make a patient and their loved ones anxious and stressed out. While the costs for cancer treatment can run into exorbitant amounts, the numerous physical changes a patient goes through puts them under stress, too.
There have been many celebrities like Lisa Ray, Sonali Bendre and most recently, Rishi Kapoor who have stood testament to the fact that the disease can be treated with efficient treatment. The actors openly speak about how physiological changes affected them mentally. Actress Sonali Bendre – who was known for her luscious hair, spoke openly about how losing her hair as a side effect of the chemotherapy treatment shook her, and disturbed her immensely.
This is the case with many cancer patients too – they are unable to come to terms with losing all their hair. In such cases, they resort to alternatives like scarves and wigs. However, good quality wigs are hard to come by, since they are extremely expensive. Patients often cannot spend on good quality wigs, because they’re already paying expensive bills at the hospital.
To help bridge this gap, many NGOs in India like www.cancercare.org and www.hairaid.org have started a process called ‘Hair Donation’ where a person who wishes to help a cancer patient out can donate his/her hair to the organisations. The NGO takes care of the treatment process which is often long and time-taking. They then dispatch it to cancer patients in need. Since there is minimal awareness about the donation procedure, the NGOs don’t receive many donations throughout the year.
However, there have been instances of people donating their hair to NGOs, so they can be made into wigs. Shalini Pottabathini, an HR senior associate speaks about her hair donation experience, and what inspired her to do it. “I wanted to do something special on the occasion of my son’s first birthday. Previously, we had opted to sponsor for a child’s education. This year, I thought I’d do something different. I got to know about hair donation through a colleague and was highly intrigued. I researched Cancer Care NGO’s website and felt they were genuine. I went ahead and followed the steps for donation,” says the HR professional.
On how easy the donation process was, Shalini says it was extremely simple, as all the instructions have been mentioned on the NGO’s website. However, since not many people are aware of this, she decided to post it on her LinkedIn profile. “Post donation, the NGO sends a certificate of appreciation to the donor. If we share our before-after pictures to the NGO, they even publish it on their website. I feel everyone should donate their hair at least once, because, in Indian culture, we emphasize on someone’s hair being a huge part of their beauty. Since we tend to regularly cut our hair anyway, maybe we can do it for a good cause,” says the Hyderabad-based professional and new mother.
People who wish to donate their hair to cancer patients can do so by partnering with reliable NGOs like www.cancercare.org or www.hairaid.org. All the instructions to send your hair are mentioned on their websites.