Growing Strong Together
My 11 year old niece has been growing out her beautiful long blonde hair for 10 months now….just to cut it off.
This past Easter break, our family was together and hair donation became a topic of coversation. Lila had a friend who donated her hair to a program called Locks of Love and was sharing her journey with all of us. Lila was not too familiar with the program, so with a little research and some online searching, we discovered more about this fabulous organization and another one called Pantenes Beautiful Lengths. My sister had been employed with Proctor and Gamble and knew of Pantenes partnership with the American Cancer Society. It was at that time that Lila made a commitment to herself and to that of another….to grow out her hair long enough to help “I want to provide a person happiness in their hard times” she said.
Fast forward to January 28,2012….she did it!
Beautiful Lengths is a partnership between Pantene and the American Cancer Society. Thanks to volunteers, thousands of FREE, real-hair wigs have been donated to women living with cancer. Created and funded by Pantene, these wigs are distributed through select American Cancer Society wig banks across the country. Pantenes campaign is the first in the country to encourage women and men to grow, cut and donate their healthy hair to make wigs for women who have lost their hair due to cancer treatments.
The Locks of Love Program takes donated hair and makes high-quality hairpieces for disadvantaged kids with medical hair loss. Locks of Love’s largest number of children who get wigs are those who live with alopecia. Alopecia is an auto-immune disorder that causes the hair follicles to shut down. This disease has varying degrees and affects 4.7 million people in the United States alone. Cancer constitutes the second highest percentage of Locks of Love recipients. Every year approximately 2,200 children under age 20 are diagnosed with brain tumors. Radiation treatment to the brain stem as a treatment for cancer can cause permanent hair loss. Chemotherapy may also cause hair loss to be long-term depending on the length of treatment needed.
My sister Leslie and the family were at dinner one night and met a lady named Sophia who was very familiar with the both hair donation programs. She just happened to be a stylist that cut and styled hair for those who donated locks. Amazing how paths are lead to one another…thank you Sophia and Unity Salon & Spa. You made a difference for so many and built up the self esteem for one amazing young lady!
Here is Lila as she went through her transformation…
Lila getting prepped with my mom ‘Bapka” by her side for support and stylist Sophia
Brushing out the back and forming a braid long enough to cut
The official “Love Cut” of the braid
Transformation complete…happiness achieved!
Children undergoing chemotherapy, suffering from alopecia areata, or recuperating from scalp burns face multiple hurdles. In addition to the physical challenges of medical treatment, children also must combat low self-esteem and poor self-image from losing their hair. Oftentimes, bald children believe it necessary to hide their condition under hats and feel they stand out among other kids. I know Lila did this for so many good reasons as she is such a sweet and pure soul “It makes me feel good to help another person who is hurting” stated Lila. Here she is with my sister and her new look!
We are all so PROUD of you Lila Kay!!! You are beautiful both inside and out!
Lila has now joined thousands of other amazing individuals who are growing it long, and growing it strong-together. See how you can join them on this Beautiful Lengths journey!