By Melinda Warren
Losing hair is a scary reality for many women going through cancer treatments, and since 2007 these women have reason to hope again.
Cosmetics company Pantene began the Beautiful Lengths initiative and is working with the Canadian Cancer Society to create free, real-hair wigs for women who have lost their hair from cancer treatments.
Since its inception the program has received over 40,000 ponytails from women, men and children who have donated.
Megan Robertson, a 22-year-old student from Brampton, donated 13 inches of her hair in June.
Robertson said she donated her hair because she has had friends and family members who have been diagnosed with cancer and she thinks more awareness needs to be brought to these kinds of causes.
“A lot of women who go through these treatments will lose their hair and it is obviously hard on them,” Robertson told Humber News. “You go from having nice long hair to no hair and these programs provide wigs for women who are affected by these situations.”
Robertson said she was happy to donate her hair knowing it was going to a good cause.
Programs like this are vital to building back the self-esteem of women who have lost their hair, she said.
“Wigs are not cheap and after they have gone through all of the financial difficulties with chemo and everything that they have to go through – having something at no charge, that people are willing to donate their hair for is heart wrenching, it really is,” Marjorie Jenkins, customer service representative for Pantene, told Humber News.
The criteria for donating includes: no more than 5 per cent gray and a minimum of 8 inches in length, free of permanent colour, bleach or other chemical treatments such as Japanese straightening.
Beautiful Lengths also has a Facebook page where you can find stories of survival and information on how you can get involved with the program.
To see if you are eligible to receive a free wig or if there are wigs available in your area, call the Canadian Cancer Society at 1-877-227-1596.