When I was 12 years old, I came across the idea of donating your hair to be made into wigs for cancer patients. I was immediately intrigued. Since a young age, I’ve always looked up to the people who are active volunteers in community service. I believe these are the strong, hard working people who put others before themselves and make the truly life-changing things happen in this world. I vowed to myself to be like them and so throughout the years I engaged in different forms of community service, feeling the most satisfied when I did do something for my community.
After I discovered how my hair could be used for good, I immediately went to search for a local organization that collected hair donations to be made into natural, high quality wigs. I visited the websites of local hospitals, emailed them, but nothing happened. There was an option to mail the hair to an organization abroad, but I was hesitant as there were major risks involved, like the hair being misused or being lost in the mail and not being delivered at all.
A few years later, I ran across a local organization called Hair To Help on Facebook which is a patient support program and public awareness campaign aimed at collecting hair donations in order to provide wigs for women and children who have lost their hair due to cancer, burns, alopecia, trichotillomania and other rare diseases and disorders free of cost. It is lead by Syed Fahad Ali, a well known youth activist, who is also the founder of “Pakistan Youth Forum” and “Aghaaz School“.
It was just what I was looking for. Elated and excited, I measured my hair. As it was still slightly shorter than the required 12 inches, I decided to donate my hair during the summer of 2015, taking the months in between to grow my hair out and to mentally prepare myself for the big cut.
When I promised myself that I would donate my hair, a change came over me and my hair stopped seeming like my hair. It seemed like I was growing them out and taking care of it for that child who would wear my hair as a wig. Some people tried to dissuade me from the idea. They would say, ”Why do you need to cut off your beautiful hair for one child?”. My reply would be, “Why not me?” If I have been blessed with healthy, long hair, why shouldn’t I share my blessing with another soul? Yes, I spent a lot of time and effort to grow my hair, but it’s just hair, it grows back.
When I went to cut my hair, every single lady in the salon was taken aback. They were praising my courage. They closed their eyes while my hair was being cut because they couldn’t bear to see the sight of 12, 13 inches of hair being cut off, bundled up and sealed in a plastic bag. The woman cutting my hair had tears in her eyes as she was overwhelmed by the ordeal. But being called selfless and courageous is something I still can’t wrap my head around. I didn’t donate my hair because I felt obligated to, it’s just an ineffable feeling. The pros far outweighed the cons and that’s what kept me going.
Hair To Help came in my life as a blessing in disguise. It’s nothing less than a privilege to be donating my hair to such a great cause run by amazing people, whose founder has become a role model for me and whose work I have followed and admired throughout the years, and so it was truly memorable to have finally met him at the hair donation drive Nixor Hospital carried out on campus during the summer.
Whenever you want to do something good, you should go the extra mile to complete the task. All the feelings of doubt and hesitance will be washed away by the positive impact your actions make. I found donating hair to be an adventure and I know the impact will be greater, a young child suffering from a drastic illness will get a new hair piece and his heart will thank all the people who donated their locks to make them his… that thought makes me smile every time.
Hair To Help continues on it’s determined and selfless journey to continue spreading good. So the next time you’re in the mood to change up your hair , please don’t forget how your hair, instead of being wasted and thrown away, can be used to change someone’s life for the better.