I’m sure you’ve known people at the nursing home who lost their hair during cancer treatment. Then you’re aware of how emotionally devastating this can be, especially for a woman.
You’ve probably heard of several programs that collect donated ponytails and make them into wigs for children who lose their hair. Today I’ll tell you about a program that does the same for adults. Working with the American Cancer Society, Pantene Beautiful Lengths provides wigs free of charge to women who lose their hair during cancer treatment.
First I’ll explain how you can donate your own ponytail. Better yet, I hope you’ll consider organizing a donation event at your nursing home. Residents will enjoy participating in this fun community service project.
Here’s how to donate your ponytail:
- Your donated hair must be a minimum of 8 inches long. There is no maximum length.
- Hair that is bleached or colored with a permanent dye cannot be accepted. It also cannot be more than 5% gray.
- Be sure your hair is clean and completely dry. You can use shampoo and conditioner, but please don’t use hairspray or other styling products.
- Put your hair in a ponytail and be sure it’s tight so the hair doesn’t come apart after it’s cut. You can put a second holder halfway down if your hair is very long.
- Ask someone to cut your hair right above the ponytail holder. Next, place it in a zippered plastic bag.
- Place the plastic bag in a padded envelope along with your full name and return address, and mail it to:
Pantene Beautiful Lengths (U.S.A.)
806 SE 18th Ave.
Grand Rapids, MN 55744
Pantene Beautiful Lengths (Canada)
2-1055 Middlegate Road
Mississauga, Ontario L4Y 1M3
Here’s how to sponsor a ponytail donation drive at your nursing home:
- Check with your local chapter of the American Cancer Society as you’re planning the event. They may be willing to help.
- If possible, invite someone to come in and talk to your residents about the wig donation program.
- Stylists from local salons are often eager to donate their time to come in and give a basic haircut in exchange for the donation of a ponytail.
- Offer prizes (donated of course!). Options include the longest ponytail donated, the oldest donor, or the youngest donor.
- Find a local celebrity who is willing to donate their ponytail.
- This is a great time to bring in a service group (scouts, church youth group, etc.) to help with the event and recruit donors.
- For people unable to donate a ponytail, offer the opportunity to make a monetary donation to help defray mailing costs and/or the cost of making the wigs.
- Be sure to thank all participants and let them know how many ponytails were collected.
- Remember to involve your nursing home residents in the planning and completion of the event.
- Check out the Pantene website for lots of great checklists and other event planning materials.
If you know of someone in need of a wig due to cancer treatment, please call 1-877-227-1596 or check out this site. (In Canada contact the Canadian Cancer Society’s Wig Bank Line at 1-888-939-3333.)