Hair donation for cancer patients: an inspiring true story

For some patients, chemotherapy, the treatment that can save them from cancer, is more dreaded than the disease itself because one of the side-effects is hair fall.

“It may sound unbelievable, but there are many, especially youngsters, who prefer to lose their life rather than their hair,” said Ramya Ramachandran (20), a final year psychology student (in February 2014) and the Rotaract Club secretary of the Women’s Christian College, Chennai (WCC) in this report by

In another report, Dr. Rejiv Rajendran, professor of medical oncology, Adyar Cancer Institute says, “From a doctor’s point of view, the loss of hair may be one of the least significant side effects, but for the patient it is the most distressing.”

According to Ramya Ramachandran, “Wigs ensure that their body image does not change. It makes them feel better about themselves. It helps them get through this very difficult phase in their life.”

However, wigs cost anywhere between Rs. 15,000 and Rs. 25,000, a large sum for most patients already burdened by the high cost of cancer treatment.

Inspired by Locks of Love, a US based NGO that has been accepting hair donations to make wigs for underprivileged children for over 15 years now, the Rotaract Club launched Tangled, an initiative to create awareness about the importance of donating hair for cancer patients. Tangled was flagged off on February 4, 2014, World Cancer Day by Dr V. Shanta, renowned cancer specialist and chairperson of the Adyar Cancer Institute, Chennai.

Rennee Saradha (19), the Rotaract Club’s president, shaved off her hair for the cause. Her selfless gesture motivated around 2,500 women, who came in huge numbers to donate their hair.

Hair donation is only the first step of Tangled. The Rotaract Club is committed to ensuring that all the hair is collected, stored, analysed, and eventually made into wigs.

Green Trends, a popular unisex hair and style salon, took the responsibility of cutting and styling the hair of the donors.

So far, over 300 wigs have been donated to the Adyar Cancer Institute, Chennai.

The drive was also extended to Bangalore as part of the Women’s Day celebrations on March 8, 2014. About 400 women donated their hair.

The young women who have worked on this project will not get to meet or even know the names of the patients who will receive their precious gift, but that doesn’t matter to them.

As Rennee Saradha says, “As long as it reaches the patients and makes a tiny bit of difference in their lives, we are happy; we do not want to know who they are.”


11 thoughts on “Hair donation for cancer patients: an inspiring true story

  1. The pain of chemo makes everything painful, not just physically but mentally too. Having seen someone suffer all through, hairloss hit their self esteem really hard. I am so glad there are kind souls who are involved in such generous work.

  2. What a timing to read this post!
    My cousin brother’s 17-year old daughter who is suffering Ewing’s Sarcoma (4th stage) is currently undergoing treatment (chemo sessions) at Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram. My parents met her earlier this month and said she has lost all her hair. My brother and sis-in-law have rented out a house near the hospital and are staying far away from our family settled around Palghat district just to ensure that my niece doesn’t feel uncomfortable with awkward gazes and unprompted comments. The pain this disease brings along is unbearable; I know from personal experience. But the hair loss due to chemo and skin reactions due to radiotherapy are side affects that affect the overall mental state of the patient much more and faster than the disease itself. You can imagine how difficult it will be for a one time national level dancer to loose her long locks of hair. It is terrible. And so I can very well understand the importance of this donation for cancer patients. I sincerely wish to see this disease eradicated out of our lives.

  3. Simply amazing! Loved this initiative and it is so heartwarming that there are good people who are doing so much to add smiles in other people’s lives! Kudos to them!

  4. A compassionate and inspiring initiative. I have heard of similar campaigns on smaller scale. I have personally seen how the chemo related hair loss can make someone feel, regardless of their age.
    Thanks Pro for writing about it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s