Wednesday, March 21, 2012

14 inches

Years ago I heard about Locks of Love and was drawn to grow my hair out to donate to them. Time and time again my hair would get unruly and I would chop it off and send it in. I, like others, did not do my homework and while thinking that my donation went to cancer, it was really going to alopecia. I am all for providing wigs for kids with problems, but then also found out that the hair was getting sold when not used and that only a portion of the wigs made were actually given to patients free of charge. I stopped donating in 2010 and 2011 and instead kept my hair long.

The week before I got accepted to be on the team

When getting accepted into the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge, I made a decision to grow my hair out for the length of my training to donate to make a wig for cancer. It was my way of adding to the meaning of the run besides all the other reasons I was running. I got accepted way back on September 23rd and my hair has been growing since. 

My hair over the last 6 months has grown and grown to the point of unruly. It was getting a pain to wash and brush and was the longest I've had it in awhile. While it was getting long, I realized how much your hair is part of your personality. People would comment on the length of it and how thick it was. As much as it was driving me nuts, I realized how important these wigs are to someone who has just lost their hair.

This past Sunday

This weekend marks our last group run and with it marks the time to cut my hair. I was originally going to wait until after the run, but thought it would be cool to show up with the short hair as a sign of the culmination of the training (I am continuing to run until the day before the race, but the group activity is over). I made the appointment for this afternoon and showed up to a new salon that had great yelp reviews. There was a bit of a language barrier and I did not understand the question of how short I wanted it cut. All of a sudden she took the scissors to my head and 14 inches were gone.

I had a mini-panic attack when I saw how short my hair now was. I was freaking out the entire cut as it kept getting shorter and shorter with each layer. As she blew it dry, I finally calmed down. I actually ended up loving the new short do and can run my hands through it without issue. The one issue I will have is putting a ponytail in it, but don't think I will need to as it is short enough to not get in my eyes. Small issues compared to losing your hair in clumps as a result of chemo.

My hair is now in a bag ready to be sent off to Pantene's Beautiful Lengths which makes wigs for the American Cancer Association. To date, over 18,000 wigs have been given free of cost to those in need at a variety of cancer hospitals around the country. I feel great for what I did and am happy to give someone the chance to feel a little more like their normal self.

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