Saturday, September 6, 2008

A Cut for Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, in 2007 alone, there were over 1.4 million new cases of cancer reported and nearly 600,000 deaths related to cancer. Those numbers are staggering.

The truth is though, that it’s hard to find anyone who hasn’t been touched by the disease. In 2001, I was diagnosed with Basal cell skin carcinoma which appeared as an irregular mole on my torso and needed to be surgically removed three times before I was clear of it.

My mother, who was diagnosed with encapsulated carcinoma, is a breast cancer survivor and my father, who was ill with a number of conditions before his death in 2006 was diagnosed with kidney cancer. Over the years, I’ve also lost two friends to cancer, Jean and Paul, and my friend Beth lost her mother to breast cancer over ten years ago. It’s everywhere.

Although I can and have financially contributed to cancer research such as the American Cancer Society and more recently the Stand Up For Cancer campaign, I wanted to do something more personal to support those whose life has been impacted by the disease.

For me, that came in the form of a very personal type of donation – my hair. Donations of hair can be used to make wigs for cancer survivors who lost their own hair through chemo therapy. I call my project of growing and donating my own hair “A Cut for Cancer”. There are several places to send hair donations and each has their own guidelines for how it needs to be donated, so if you’re interested in donating you’ll want to check out the links below to see which program is right for you.

Pantene Beautiful Lengths

Locks of Love

Wigs for Kids

In the end, I chose Pantene, after seeing actress and celebrity Hilary Swank appear on Oprah to donate her own tresses to the Beautiful Lengths campaign. Her encouragement to have others do the same was inspiring. Even though I don’t have the same high-profile exposure as Hillary or Oprah, I encourage everyone to consider growing and donating their hair so that cancer survivors needing wigs can experience your generosity first hand.

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