Our hair donation program is one of the oldest in North America. It started about fifteen or so years ago when the Canadian Cancer Society called me up. They were getting a lot of enquiries from people wanting to donate their hair and they wanted to know what could be done with it. I suggested making small-cap wigs for children that needed them. They agreed and we started a very informal program.
It is still informal, and it still works very well. I had a mother call me this morning from Sick Children’s Hospital asking if they could bring her eight-year-old daughter in to see me. We cleared the decks for her and she came in after she had finished her chemo. Her father brought her in. I found a wig that was made with donated hair and all we had to do was cut it in. The dad asked, “How much do I owe you?” He asked this after we started cutting it because it did not matter what the price was. He and I are alike when it comes to our daughters. I said that it was part of the kids’ program so there was no charge. He was really surprised at that. He then started asking if I needed a prescription or what other paperwork…? I told him that I could see that his daughter needed the wig. There was no need to do any of that. We try to make things easier, not tie people up in knots.
The kids that come in for wigs are tough as bent nails. As a parent, I know it’s the mom and dad that are taking as much of the bad experience away from their kid as they can. And would take all of it if they could. So making things easy for the parent, financially as well as in every other way, gives me a great feeling. It was especially good since although she missed the first day of school because of chemo, she will have her look for when she goes back tomorrow.