According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 1,444,920 people will be diagnosed with cancer in 2007. Many of these people will go through chemotherapy to treat the cancer. One emotionally difficult side-effect of chemotherapy is hair loss. This side-effect is hard for many patients, especially women. Four students at the College are trying to combat this situation by organizing a hair drive Thursday at European Beauty Concepts, located in the Monticello Shopping Center. The drive will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. and every participant — who must donate at least eight inches of hair — will receive a free hair cut.
p. “This is a project for our women’s studies class,” freshman Heidi Snedden said. “We are fundraising to raise money for cancer research and hosting a hair donation day to benefit women who are undergoing chemotherapy. All of the intro [women’s studies] classes are required to pursue an activist project.”
p. The fundraiser is coordinated with an organization called Pantene Beautiful Lengths that creates wigs out of real hair for women battling cancer. The wigs take about four months to make and require three to four ponytails. After being crafted, the wigs are distributed to patients through the American Cancer Society at no cost.
p. Snedden also commented about the project bringing consciousness about broader health concerns to the community. “We are hoping to help cancer patients, as well as raise awareness for women’s health issues and body image issues.”
p. A personal experience helped sophomore Ashley Madonick devolop the idea for the project. “This past summer, I had a couple of very close family friends who were diagnosed with cancer, all of them women,” she said. “When I spoke to them about their battle with cancer, every one of them described one of the most devastating side effects of undergoing chemotherapy was losing their hair. After the summer, I decided I was going to grow out my hair and donate it. I found out about Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths from a woman who works in the salon where I get my hair cut.”
p. The group has tried to reach out to the campus and the community to encourage hair donations. Flyers have been posted around campus, and there is currently a booth set up outside the University Center to recruit donors and look for donations.
“We have fundraised outside of Ukrops and plan to visit local high schools to encourage more people to donate,” Snedden said. “We already have a dozen [ponytails] and $200.”
p. The money the students raise will go to the production of the wigs and also to educating the public. “Pantene also makes donations to the EIF’s [Entertainment Industry Foundation’s] Women’s Cancer Research Fund, a program committed to saving lives by raising funds and awareness for millions of women and their families affected by cancer,” Madonick said.
p. “Most people have heard of ‘Locks of Love’ and are turned off because it requires at least 10 inches of hair,” sophomore Becca Bacharach said. “Pantene’s program only requires 8 inches, which is much more doable. Our goal is to collect as many ponytails as possible and raise as much money as we can for cancer research. We do not have any specific numbers.”
p. For more information about donating hair at the hair drive at European Beauty Concepts Thursday or to make an appointment, contact Snedden at firstname.lastname@example.org.