The chop

Student donates hair for wigs for women battling all forms of cancer nationwide

The+chop

photo courtesy of Mercier '19

Jacqui Mercier '19, Feature Editor

I clenched my eyes closed in discomfort as I listened to my hairdresser snip away at a whopping 10 inches of my hair thinking to myself: Will it look good? What will my friends think? Am I going to regret this? But all of my worries vanished as soon as I opened my eyes to a ziplock bag overfilled with my ponytail of auburn hair, knowing that soon it would be upon the head of someone who needed it far more than I did.

My hair has always been super long, thick and, quite frankly, frustrating to handle. After thinking it over for weeks I told my parents I was interested in cutting it and that’s when my dad proposed that I look for a program that I could donate it to. Although this would likely result in me cutting it slightly shorter than I initially planned, I didn’t see much harm or difference in one or two more inches.

I immediately researched multiple different hair donation programs online. There are some that take donations to make wigs for people battling specific cancers, there are some that make wigs for children, and some programs that make wigs for men. But after a lot of research, I decided to donate through Pantene’s “Beautiful Lengths” program which accepts both money and mailed donations of hair to create free, real hair wigs for women of all ages battling all forms of cancer nationwide.

The requirements for donating through Pantene were simple to meet, seeing as they were just that the donation had to be a minimum of 8 inches long and that the hair couldn’t be significantly colored or grey. Their website and instructions for mailing in the donation were extremely organized, and I would most definitely recommend the program to anybody interested.

However, what really led me to donate was reading some of the things the women who received the wigs said on Pantene’s website. Many mentioned how it gave them a sense of hope and made them feel beautiful in their time of need. Because my aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer about two years ago, my heart was touched by the stories women shared. It was hard to see how much the therapy and treatment impacted her, but I vividly remember when she got her first wig and our whole family was moved by her spirit, confidence, and how beautiful she looked. Once I made that personal connection to the program, my mind was made up and I knew I would be donating.

Although I may have had (and still occasionally have) my doubts about the cut and my noticeably different length, every time I look at my hair in the mirror lately I can’t help but smile, because I know that there’s going to be somebody else out there smiling about our hair too.