Where Can I Donate My Hair for Cancer Patients?
There are a variety of local and national programs and organizations available that can turn your long locks into free or low-cost wigs for people undergoing cancer therapy.
Although there are a variety of options for donating your hair, donating to a child with cancer or another medical condition may be more fulfilling that donating to an adult.
For example, Locks of Love, Wigs for Kids and Children with Hair Loss, focus on children who’ve lost their hair from cancer or another medical reason.
Locks of Love is a nonprofit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under age 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis. The Locks of Love website makes donating hair easy by showing you which companies will accept your hair donation and providing instructions on how to prepare your hair to send it in.
Locks of Love has been around since 1997 and is committed to making sure every child who needs a wig can get one, regardless of family income or insurance status. Their mission is to provide these wigs free of charge or on a sliding scale basis for those families who cannot afford them.
Another option is Wigs for Kids, they are a nonprofit organization that provides free wigs to children undergoing cancer therapy. Wigs For Kids also hosts wig drives for donors to collect clean and gently used real hair wigs of all styles, colors, and lengths. Recycling and reusing wigs also helps the environment.
Wigs For Kids works with specific salons in every state. All you need to do is go to their website and schedule an appointment with one of their wig specialists at any of their locations across the country or donate online. It is simple and easy.
Most organizations require 10-12 inches of clean, dry hair, while Wigs for Kids is a bit less picky and will accept any length between 8 inches and 24 inches.
Wigs 4 Kids is not affiliated with the “Wigs for Kids” organization. Wigs for Kids provides wigs to children all over the United States and internationally. Wigs 4 Kids only provides wigs to children in Michigan.
The Children with Hair Loss program (CWHL) opened in September 2000. CWHL’s mission and goals are to never charge a family at a time when they need the most help. The headquarters resides in South Rockwood, Michigan in an old, renovated fire station. Originally, CWHL’s focus was on children fighting cancer, until they found out that there were a lot of other reasons why children lost hair including Alopecia, burns, Trichotillomania and other rare diseases and disorders. To this day, Children with Hair Loss has never charged a child for a wig. Currently, they provide a customized human hair replacement and care kit to over 600 children a year.
In some cases, donating your hair is tax-deductible depending on the organization.
Back to school is a popular time of year for donating hair to a charity that makes hairpieces for cancer patients.
When donating your hair, it is important to make sure that you take proper care of it beforehand. It needs to be clean and preferably styled in a way that will allow for easy donation removal. You should put it in a ponytail at the cutoff point and also wrap a band in the middle and end of the ponytail. Many stylists might braid the ponytail to keep the hair from getting tangled. Its best to use rubber bands or hot glue on the ends of the ponytail instead of metal clips or barrettes which may damage the hair. The different organizational websites may also provide tips, such as cutting off multiple, smaller ponytails often provides more usable hair than a single large ponytail.
If you don’t pay attention to the details, you could make a valuable mistake. Like sending in damp hair. Hair that is not completely dry before sending it must be thrown away because it molds.
If donating at a salon, be sure to mention that you are donating your hair and ask if they have any organizations that they partner with or can refer you to. For example, Pantene Beautiful Lengths partners with cancer foundations in every state and collects hair for wigs that are made in the U.S.
A hairstylist does not need special training to do a donation cut but be sure to tell your hairstylist the reason for your haircut and the guidelines of the organization you have selected. They will just need to follow a few simple but specific instructions so that your hair can be used. Some hair donation organizations offer a list of specific salons that will do the cut—sometimes at a discount—and package and ship the hair for you.
To find local organizations donating real hair wigs to cancer patients, look for local chapters of the American Cancer Society and contact them directly. They may be able to refer you to nearby wig banks that partner with hospitals in your area.
To create each wig, it can take between 4 to 20 ponytails, depending on thickness of the ponytail and since ponytails are not uniform in length or texture.
People often ask is it better to donate money or hair? Donated hair and finances are equally important to provide wigs to children. It takes approximately 4 to 6 ponytails and $1200 – $1800 to make one wig and each wig is provided at no cost to the recipient or their family.
To be eligible to donate hair, you must meet a variety of different requirements. The most common donation requirement is that your hair must be at least 8 inches long. If you have layered hair, the shortest layer often needs to meet the minimum length requirement.
Adults and children can donate hair. You may need to find out if an organization will or will not take dyed, permed, highlighted, bleached, or dreadlocked hair. Furthermore, some organizations accept gray and other natural shades of hair while others do not.
Some of the organizations that that turn donated hair into wigs have been swamped in recent months with hair from all the people that grew their hair out during the past year and a half due to COVID.
A lot of that hair grown out during COVID that is being donated is not long enough. 8” is the shortest length that can be used to make a wig. An 8” donation can only make a short hairstyle wig. Most wigs are desired by women and girls that want long hair.
In addition, the latest fads for colored hair has affected the hair quality being sent in to create these wigs. The colors being used are often permanent and cannot be removed or reversed. The coloring is ruining the quality of the hair that can be used for wigs.
Some organizations might dispose of hair that doesn’t meet their product criteria but, in most cases, they sell it in order to cover the costs associated with production of the hair that is usable.
Every hair donation organization has its own mission and goals. Do a little research to make sure that you are comfortable with who receives the wigs and how the organization is run.
If you have been blessed with beautiful locks that you take care of everyday! Why not donate your hair? It can be an empowering experience knowing that you helped someone else out. Your donation will be used to create custom human-hair wigs for people undergoing cancer therapy, which they may otherwise have trouble affording.
Contact us today to be a donor!