4 Amazing Non-Profits Worthy of Donating Your Hair to

My mom’s best friend faced a battle with breast cancer when I was younger, and I remember what that looked like for the two of them. I remember constantly going to Relay for Life events, seeing my mom collecting donation money, her crying a lot and constantly being on the phone. I remember her best friend starting to wear hats and then, scarves as she made her way through the stages of Chemo. I remember her wearing wigs, and hearing how she got them, of the organizations with missions to help cancer patients in some way through their hard time. What we see and experience as kids really does shape who we are as we grow up, even if we don’t realize it at the moment.

I have donated my hair every year ever since I started high school, and, honestly, it has become something I look forward to every summer. One reason that I like it so much is because when I cut my hair in my bathroom over my porcelain sink, I think of my mom’s best friend. Another reason is that I was born and raised in the Central Valley of California, which, if you didn’t know (and I’m guessing you don’t because almost nobody does unless you’re one of the handful of people from there) the temperatures there during the summer months are almost always above 100 degrees. So, it’s pretty freaking hot! Cutting my hair in the heat storm is a good way of staying cool and having less tendrils sticking to your arm sweat. Also, it’s always nice to have a good excuse for changing your hairstyle. We’ve all been asked by someone or another why we cut our hair, or why we felt like we needed a change, and now you can tell them that you donated it to an organization that creates wigs for cancer patients and survivors. Or tell them to get lost because it’s really none of their business and you don’t owe anyone an explanation for your personal choices. Either one is acceptable.

Donating your hair is one of the easiest ways to do something nice for someone else, because it requires basically no effort. It’s almost like reverse effort, actually, because  you’re consciously not doing something. You’re just not cutting your hair. Or maybe look at it as you’re consciously letting your hair grow naturally. Again, either one works here! Statistics predict that by the year 2030, the number of people diagnosed with cancer will increase by 50% world wide, from 14 million diagnosed in 2012, to 21 million. They also predict a 60% increase of cancer deaths between the same time period, from 8 million to 13 million. That’s a lot of people who are going to be undergoing treatment and hard times. People who may feel more comfortable, more normal, more beautiful, more confident, more happy, more like their old selves in a wig. These people may be your teachers, parents, siblings, neighbors, colleagues, partners, cousins, yourself, or maybe your mom’s best friend. There’s something we can all do to help, even if it is the smallest of ways. It can take between 12 to 20 ponytails to make one wig. Will your ponytail be one?

1. Pantene Beautiful Lengths

About: It is the largest national movement and first campaign to create free, real-hair wigs for women with cancer.

Fun Fact: This is the organization that I always send my ponytails to, and if you include your full name and return address on the envelope you mail in, they will send you a letter to let you know that your donation has been received.

Donation Length: At least 8 inches.

Donation steps: Wash your hair, tie with a band, cut below it at desired length, put hair donation in a tightly sealed Ziplock bag, send it a manila envelope. Donated hair cannot be affected by dyes, bleaches or any other chemicals, and cannot be more than 5% gray.

Address: Pantene Beautiful Lengths

                Attn: 192-123

                806 SE 18th Ave.

                Grand Rapids, MN 55744

 

2. Wigs for Kids

About: Their mission is to help kids look themselves and live their lives. They are a non-profit organization that makes free, real-hair wigs for children suffering from hair loss, and have been doing so since 1981.

Fun Fact: You need to fill out a hair donation form (found on their website), which includes an ID number and barcode, along with your hair donation. They will also send you a thank you note! And, they offer Girl Scout patches for those involved and interested.

Donation Length: Minimum of 12 inches

Donation Steps: Hair must be clean and dry, it cannot be: permed, color treated, or highlighted (hair that has been temporarily colored is accepted, but it must be washed out completely). Gray hair is accepted. Recommended to split hair into four equal ponytails when cutting. Tie hair in bands, cut below the tie, wrap ALL ponytails in one piece of tissue paper and seal in a Ziploc bag, and mail in a sealed envelope.

Address: Wigs for Kids

                24231 Center Ridge Road

                Westlake, Ohio 44145

3. Wigs 4 Kids

About: They are a non-profit organization providing wigs for children from ages 3-18 with “new hair, new hope and a chance to be themselves.” It provides wigs and services for children in the state of Michigan at no cost to them.

Fun Fact: In June of 2010 they established a Wellness Center to help kids with the psychological, social, physical and emotional side effects to hair loss.

Donation Length: 10 Inches minimum

Donation Steps: Donate clean and dry hair. Secure hair at desired donation length, and cut hair one inch above the band you tie around it (that extra inch is include in the total 10 in”). Place it in a Ziploc bag and mail in an envelope. Hair cannot be colored or chemically treated, and cannot be more than 10% gray.

Address: Wigs 4 Kids

                30126 Harper Avenue, St.

                Clair Shores, MI 48082

4. Children With Hair Loss

About: They are a non-profit organization that provides wigs to children and young adults, free of charge. They make wig donations to children who have lost hair due to Cancer, burns, Alopecia and Trichotillomania, among many other reasons.

Fun Fact: Their slogan is “Covering young heads to heal young hearts.” Also, donors are given a certificate for their kindness.

Donation Length: 8 inches minimum

Donation Steps: Donate clean, dry hair that has been tied in a ponytail. Rubber bands should be placed at each end of the ponytail. Non-chemically treated hair is preferred, but any hair in good condition is accepted, including gray hair. Donations must be placed in a Ziploc bag and mailed in an envelope, along with their hair donation form (which can be found on their website).

Address: Children With Hair Loss

                12776 Dixie Hwy

                South Rockwood, MI 48179

Photos courtesy of Pantene Beautiful  Lengths, Wigs for Kids, Wigs 4 Kids, and Children with Hair Loss.