Hair For Hope — India, a campaign launched to offer free wigs for cancer patients, is in Mumbai to inspire citizens to donate hair to help cancer survivors
Each time a cancer patient undergoes chemotherapy, within 20 days he/she loses all his/her hair. And while society, to some extent, is acceptable towards bald men, women cancer survivors don’t have it easy.
A hair donor from Jalandhar
This realisation struck Dubai-based Premi Mathew when someone close to her was diagnosed with cancer. “She lost all her hair in 20 days; it was horrifying,” she recalls.
But it was only after Mathew met a six-year-old boy from Kerala, Dylan who grew his hair for four years to help victims of hair loss that she decided to launch Hair for Hope — India in June 2013 in Kerala. This campaign inspires people to donate hair (minimum of 15-inches long) to create wigs for cancer patients.
Premi Mathew, founder and CEO of Hair for Hope — India
After successful editions in Bangalore and in cities across Kerala, the campaign is traveling to Mumbai for the first time, where it will call upon Mumbaikars to donate their hair in a special event at the Oberoi Mall. “Already, we have four youngsters — three girls and a boy — who will be donating their hair at the event. We hope to find more,” she adds.
Mathew informs that hair is important for everyone, as no body wants to be bald. But its loss affects the cancer patients the most because the fall is sudden. “It’s frightening to wake up in the morning to find all your hair falling,” she says.
Mathew adds that wigs can cost up to Rs 25,000-Rs 35,000 for most standard versions. “It’s too expensive for families who are already struggling to meet the treatment costs.
They don’t have the money or resources to buy a wig. We provide wigs for free to these patients,” shares Mathew.
Since its launch, over the last one year, thanks to the help of volunteers, organisations and young donors, some nearly as young as seven or eight, the organisation has managed to provide 80 wigs to cancer patients all over India. “We can do more; if we finds more wig makers and people to support the cause. We have just one wig maker, who is working at a very reduced price. We need more wig makers immediately,” she says.
Those wishing to donate their hair must keep in mind that a minimum 15-inches long hair is needed to make a decent wig; they must also keep their hair shampooed and dry. Wet hair catches fungus and is of no use.
On: Today, 4.30 pm to 6.30 pm
At: Oberoi Mall, Western Express Highway, General Arun Kumar Vaidya Marg, Yashodham, Goregaon (E).
Call: 9821893912 (for a wig)
Also, running along will be the Protect Your Mother Campaign that aims to take the help of children across India to motivate their mothers to undergo regular breast cancer check-ups.
“One in every eight women is susceptible to breast cancer, and yet, in India, most consider it as a taboo. Worst, most die due to lack of detection, despite it being easy to detect. All you have to do is look for lumps,” appeals Mathew.