Need remains great
Even as the coronavirus pandemic enters its 10th month in the United States, the nonprofit founders report a welcome but endless stream of emails, calls and mail from interested donors. And that’s a good thing, 그들은 말한다, since so many still need the help.
“Covid-19 put a halt across the entire world, but the one thing it didn’t stop was cancer,” said Nicely, whose nonprofit makes free wigs for children with hair loss disorders and gives free wigs and breast prosthetics to women with cancer. A cancer survivor herself, Nicely understands the urgency even during a global crisis. “The need is there — doesn’t matter how bad Covid is,” 그녀가 말했다.
Cartier agrees. “We’re definitely helping more people than ever before,” 그는 말했다, adding that Wigs & Wishes is shipping about 50 wigs a day across the country and beyond. His location near many large oncology centers on the East Coast keeps him busy: On top of his regular client schedule, he also takes care of six to 10 cancer patients daily at his salon.
The need — and the hope that hair provides — keeps Varney working seven days a week. Slightly more than half of the children she serves have been diagnosed with cancer, while the rest have lost hair from alopecia, trichotillomania, lupus, blood disorders and dog bites.
“I don’t care what age you are — I get 3-year-olds and 5-year-olds that come in here, and I put those wigs on them and their smile and their heart just brightens up,” said Varney, who makes free custom wigs or hairpieces for every child. “They look in the mirror and they recognize the person looking back at them.”
Trim before you cut
If you’re interested in donating your hair, proper maintenance is the first step. Cartier, a stylist for nearly three decades, recommends using a sulfate-free shampoo, “좋은” conditioner, and heat protectant for regular haircare. Maggie’s Wigs 4 Kids also recommends using high-quality dryers and tools, regular brushing and limiting exposure to heat damage.
But most important of all is keeping your ends trimmed — at least an eighth to a quarter inch every four to six weeks, according to Cartier. Regular trimming may sound counterintuitive at first, but he says breakage will happen anyway. “You don’t cut it, it breaks,” 그는 말했다. “It cuts itself for you.”
Nicely, a stylist for over 40 연령, 본다 “많이” of donated ponytails full of split ends, which unfortunately cannot be made into wigs.
“생각 해봐,” 그녀가 말했다. “Do you want a child to have a wig made out of extremely damaged hair?”
Read directions carefully
Different nonprofits have different requirements for donating hair, so it’s crucial to read all the instructions before you cut.
예를 들어, the minimum length to donate can vary widely. Maggie’s Wigs 4 Kids of Michigan can take donations as short as seven inches to make short wigs that many boys prefer, but at least 10 inches is requested. Wigs & Wishes requires a minimum of 12 신장, while Pink Heart Funds requires 13 inches to meet the demand for longer wigs.
“People don’t realize how much hair you really do need,” 까르띠에 말했다, especially “by the time you cut the split ends off, and by the time you tie a knot in it.” It can take five to six donations to make one wig.
There may also be different rules when it comes to layered, colored and chemically processed hair, as well as the amount of gray hair permitted. Children’s hair makes for ideal donations since it tends to be unprocessed and healthier.
How you gather your donation may also matter. Wigs & Wishes requires donations to be braided while Pink Heart Funds and Maggie’s Wigs 4 Kids of Michigan accept ponytails and braids.
All three nonprofits require hair donations to be clean, dry and placed in a sealable plastic bag. Wet or damp donations can breed mold or mildew and have to be thrown out.
Securing hair is also key, especially before cutting. Hair cannot be bundled after it has been on the floor. Donations need to be secured in more than one place in case a band breaks or hair shifts out of place in transit.
“It breaks my heart when I get a hair donation and it’s dumped in a bag and it’s all loose hair because they can’t use it,” said Varney, a licensed cosmetologist with more than 40 years of experience. “The outer layer of the hair shaft is like shingles on a roof, so if it’s turned all different ways,” 그녀가 말했다, “that wig will mat and tangle.” It ultimately makes the wig too hard to maintain, especially for kids.
And you don’t have to be in the United States to help. All three charities accept hair donated from around the world. Pink Heart Funds has received donations from Ireland, Germany and the Philippines. Wigs & Wishes has a strong network of partnering salons in Europe and Australia. And Maggie’s Wigs 4 Kids of Michigan has counted donations from 62 countries in the last year, 프랑스 포함, 이탈리아, Iraq and Iran.
Other ways to help
Wigs are expensive. Depending on how they’re made, each wig can cost several hundred to several thousand dollars. Because these nonprofits give away their wigs for free and don’t turn anyone eligible away, monetary donations are needed more than ever.
The pandemic has been a double whammy for charities, limiting their ability to fundraise while shrinking the donor base.
“That is what really kicked our butts,” Nicely said, noting that financial donations for Pink Heart Funds are down 60 percent this year because many of her regular donors in the cosmetology industry have been out of work.
If hair and money are not options, there’s also time. Varney says interest in donating hair to Maggie’s Wigs 4 Kids of Michigan often leads to volunteering for the organization in other ways, ranging from sorting mail to styling wigs. Cartier says there’s also a constant need for volunteers across the country for Wigs & Wishes, which is looking for help with its upcoming annual gala that will be held virtually.
While the world waits for an end to Covid-19, the founders also hope for an end to cancer, anticipating the need will remain long after coronavirus.
“We’re not going anywhere,” 까르띠에 말했다. “So until they find the cure, we’ve got to just keep pushing and keep changing lives.”