Cancer in its various forms has claimed far too many lives. We all have or know of someone who is a cancer survivor. I personally know people who have fought and continue to fight this awful disease. As well as others who bear the pain of losing someone dear to it. Over the years I’ve donated to charities and crowdfunds to help offset medical costs, etc. In addition to my prayer list that grows weekly. Not to discount such contributions because they’re very important; but after seeing Facebook photos shared by women in my life during chemotherapy I felt compelled to do more.
I cannot reiterate the importance of prayer which can figuratively move mountains; and generosity because medical costs are exorbitant. No one should ever choose death over debt. I beat my brain until it suddenly occurred to me that I was already doing something that could help twenty-fours a day, seven days a week. Regardless of how much I may fail in life, my thick, dark hair is actually quite lovely, sometimes coveted and something I would gladly give to a cancer patient who had lost hers to chemo.
Fast forward two years and at about fourteen inches growth, the time finally came for me to make the big cut. No scissors or artificial colour had touched my hair since the decision was made. It wasn’t hard to manage but was quite heavy and started to hurt my head. Locks of Love was the original charity of choice but on my friend Chris’ urging, I learned they only use children’s donations to make wigs, and mine would certainly be sold to offset expenses. That pretty much ruled out the hope my hair would allow a cancer patient’s to do a Charlie’s Angels hair flip. (Every lady should have done that at least once in her life.)
As it turns out Pantene® Beautiful Lengths doesn’t have such restrictions so the hair was going to them. None of these charities will use grey hair, so this would be my only chance to do something like this. One sunny Saturday last May, all roads led to Beautiful Hair Studio. Crystal (aka my hair magician) was fully onboard with the plan and we set about getting my hair ready.
As per the charity’s instructions I washed my hair that morning and Crystal combed it out at the salon. She tied the hair into loose pony tails in two places to keep the strands together. One by one she cut them off and I had unexpected feelings about the whole process. I’m not one for exposing my vulnerable side in public spaces (cinemas don’t count); but it took all my self-control to stop myself from weeping in the salon.
I thought about the patients and their families who muster courage daily. I thought about my friends who lost their beloved mothers and then thought about my own Mom, Maureen. Cancer didn’t take her away from me but it still hurts. We didn’t always get along but I loved her very much. The last time I saw her in person, she had shorn off her locks. “You don’t like it?” she asked. I hugged her and gently caressed her head saying, “I love it. I always wanted to do it, too. One of these days I just might.” If only I could have that “guess what I did” conversation with her, or any at all. With every snip I prayed that Pantene® Beautiful Lengths would make sure the hair became a wig, and blessed the woman who gets it. I sent the hair with a letter and asked for confirmation it had been received but there has been no response to this day.
Photos: Nick Parray