October 16, 2017 5:46 pm
Updated: October 19, 2017 1:25 pm

Stories of giving: Why women and girls are donating their hair to Canadian Cancer Society Wig Bank

Cancer survivor Corrine Schelle explains how the Canadian Cancer Society wig bank program helped her as she battled the disease.

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In 2017, you’d be hard-pressed to not find someone whose life has not been touched by cancer.

As part of Breast Cancer Awareness month, Global News Morning News BC host Sonia Sunger will be cutting her hair and donating it to the Canadian Cancer Society’s Wig Bank on Oct. 20.

Joining Sunger in shedding her locks are a handful of viewers. Here, in their own words, the participants have shared their personal stories about why they’re choosing to donate their hair.

Darlene Sulis

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I’m a kindergarten teacher in the North Vancouver School District. I was born and raised in North Vancouver and I firmly believe in the power of community and compassion.

I want to be a part of this fundraiser because I want to be a positive role model to my students. Recently we participated in the Terry Fox run and I was reminded of the impact he had on the fight against cancer. My students were really inspired by Terry and I’d love to show them there are many ways to get involved.

Like many, I’ve recently had a number of people near me whose lives have been forever-changed battling cancer. I know that a trivial haircut doesn’t begin to compare with the challenges that cancer patients and their families face. With that in mind, I decided to also set up a personal fundraising page on the Canadian Cancer Society website.

In just two days I collected over $1000 in donations! I’m so grateful for all the generous support I’ve received from my family, friends and the school community. I can’t wait to donate my hair on October 20th!

Miriam Wilson

My father’s parents and sister have had cancer. He is the only surviving member of his immediate family and his mother was a 43-year-old survivor of breast cancer. She had her right breast removed in 1962. This was radical surgery for that time, leaving a scar from her lower rib cage to her armpit, cutting through muscles, impeding the ability to raise her arm.

The surgery saved her life and she lived on to see six grandchildren and seven great grandchildren born — all while running a successful highland dancing school on the North Shore. She lived until 88 years old.

Unfortunately my father and his parents lost their sister/daughter at the age of 42 to liver and lung cancer. She left behind two young teenage boys and young adult twin daughters.

My grandfather died on my birthday later that year of stomach cancer. So yes, my family has been touched by cancer, as I think most have.

Sarah Hamel

My reason for wanting to donate is… why not?

Cancer has taken the lives of two special woman in my life and if my hair can help make someone’s day a little brighter, I would love to do so.

 

Matea

Matea just turned four years old and she has never cut her hair.

She is excited that donating her hair means that she will help a little girl or boy that has cancer. We always try to instill in her that she is fortunate to have a loving family and her health.

Cancer doesn’t look at age, race, gender or sexual orientation — it certainly does not discriminate.

We want her to remember the importance of showing kindness to others and lending a helping hand to people that are not as fortunate as her.

We strongly support this cause and are proud to have our daughter be part of it.

Mya Rosser

I have always wanted to donate my hair in hopes that it could help out someone in need of a wig.

I am 17 years old and have been growing my hair out for a while, I hope to donate alongside Sonia and cut off nine inches of my hair.

Cancer has been in my family for as long as I can remember. I lost my great grandmother to cancer (she was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago), my friend’s mother passed away from breast cancer, and these are just to name a few.

I am currently in first year university studying to become a nurse in hopes of helping people but more specifically children with cancer.

I know that there is a long way for me to go until I am actually helping someone directly but this is one step towards the right direction.

Shivani Mandics

I am 11 years old.

I decided to cut my hair for cancer about a year and a half ago. My cousin from Ontario donated her hair. She inspired me to do the same and I have been growing my hair ever since.

My grandpa is a cancer survivor and that also inspired me to donate my hair even more.

I hope that the hair I will donate will make someone very happy.

When I was small I never wanted to cut my hair because I thought I looked like a Disney princess.

But now that I am older I know that my hair is not what makes me a princess, it’s what is in the inside that makes us beautiful.

Anne Bruinn

The reason I want to donate is probably not as compelling as others’ stories; it’s quite simple: I have a fast-growing mane of beautiful hair.

I’ve donated periodically throughout my life, but now I’m at an age where I feel like long hair doesn’t suit me anymore.

I personally don’t know anyone who has gone through chemo (or lost their hair for any other reason) but I have empathy for those who do.

I can’t help in any other way, but I’m happy to donate my hair if it helps someone feel better.

Our children are following in my footsteps – our 10 year old daughter donated her gorgeous blonde hair last December. Their natural giving spirit can only be strengthened by giving of what they have, other than money or material things.

Brianna Millar

I have been growing my hair for a couple of years now and now that my hair is long enough, I know it can help somebody who lost their hair due to cancer.

My grandfather and aunt both died of cancer in the past couple of years.

My aunt experienced hair loss due to cancer.

Knowing that the person who will receive my hair is happy then I am happy.

~ Brianna is 10 years old.

Sarah

I’ve been touched many times by cancer in my life and I know how much a wig can make a difference to a person who has lost their hair during cancer treatment.

I lost my dad to brain cancer at the young age of 19. I remember lending him my NY Yankees baseball hat to cover his balding head. He wore that hat until he died.

Ten years later my mom’s best friend got diagnosed with a similar brain cancer. I remember her losing her hair and her embarrassment of her splotchy hair. My mom took her to a wig store and bought her a wig. That wig gave her new confidence and she enjoyed the last couple of months with a new lease on life. She travelled and spent as much time as possible with friends and family.

Cancer has touched so many lives. If I can give someone restored confidence in their looks while fighting this terrible disease, I want to help.

Anh Lieng

I just found out about a month ago that my dad has stage 4 lung cancer and a brain tumor.

Currently, I’m watching him live with the painful side effects of radiation, in hopes that he’ll start to feel better soon.

This year has been a whirlwind for me. I got married at the end of July. My dad started feeling ill in August, and in September we found out he has cancer — talk about being from the highest high, to the lowest low.

I was planning to cut my hair and donate it discreetly but I’d love to come out and support a great cause!

You can support Anh via her fundraising page.

Adriana Primerano

For the past couple of years, I have been growing out my hair in order to be able to donate it and still be able to put it up in a pony tail (I play soccer and my mom says I have to be able to put it up for games and practices).

I was SO excited when my dad showed me [Global BC’s] Facebook post about donating hair for the wig program. There are many reasons why I want to donate my hair. First, ever since I was little everyone’s told me how I have such “thick straight hair” and it is!

Another and more important reason is that I know lots of people who have passed away or have been fighting cancer. Just last week a family friend passed away from cell cancer. I know that going through the cancer treatment makes some people lose their hair and I love the idea that I could help them a little bit by donating my hair.

My hair is 15 inches long now, I have done nothing to it and because I am only 12, I sure hope I don’t have any grey hair yet! :) Also, October 20 is a pro-D day at my school, so I won’t miss any school.

Ginger Sherlock

My husband is a cancer survivor, my aunts have had cancer, my grandfather and grandmother died of cancer… so this issue is very real to me.

 

 

 

 

Amanda Bradley

The reason I’m donating my hair is because I’ve been blessed with a head full of natural hair and I’d like to share that with someone in need.

I do not know anyone who has needed a wig, but cancer took both of my grandparents and I’m sure that won’t be the only time cancer will touch my life.

 

 

Jennifer

My name is Jennifer, I’m 38, a wife and mother of 3. I’m also a Registered Nurse in the Intensive Care Unit at Royal Columbian Hospital looking after critically ill and injured patients.

I have grown up donating my hair for wigs for children and have donated 11 times, each time between 9 and 15 inches. I don’t dye or highlight my hair for the purpose of donating. I’ve always felt a sense of giving back, even if it was just cut hair. I have two daughters and they have both donated their hair a few times.

Growing up, I’ve always thought about the reasons I donate and it’s simple… why not. Doing something so simple, can make such an impact on someone’s life. Giving them confidence or courage to face their next step. We all know what it feels like to feel good, so why not?

Currently, my hair is long and I’d love to be a part of your campaign and raise awareness for the cancer society.

Christine Eng

The reason why I want to cut and donate my hair is because my Auntie Shanna in Winnipeg has breast cancer and I want to do as much as I can to help. This is also in memory of my Grandfathers who both died of cancer.

 

 

 

 

Alexa Trimmer

“Don’t worry mommy….it’s just hair and it will grow back.”

My five-year-old daughter Alexa has been asking me for a while if she can donate her hair.

She wants her hair to make wigs for kids with cancer. She has such a big heart and I am such a proud mom.

Vanessa Copak

Cancer has unfortunately impacted my life like many others.

I’ve stood on the side lines watching my mother and others in my life battle this horrible disease. Lucky enough, my mom fought and battled her cancer. I can’t say that for others in my life who were affected.

I would like to help by donating my hair for someone in need at such a horrible time of their life. It’s the least I can do.

This will be the first time I am donating my hair, and it will definitely not be the last. I have been growing my hair for over four years to be able to donate as much as I can, and I’m excited to help someone feel confident and beautiful again!

Victoria Lieng

My dad passed away from cancer 16 years ago and I just learned last month that my uncle has been diagnosed with late stage cancer.

I learned about this event through my amazing cousin, who signed up to donate her hair this Friday and spread the word. She has raised over $3,000 in four days!

I am very proud to be joining her in this fundraising endeavour.

I’ve been growing out my hair over the past few years and planned to donate and now seems like a very good time!

Dianna Roberts

I have donated my hair in the past, and I like to look for opportunities to do so if I’m changing from long to short.

Presently, I am a new mom who moved from Victoria late in my pregnancy, so I’ve had lots of changes this past year!

I am currently looking for a job, and felt that a new, shorter style would make life easier as a working mom.

 

Brenna Josephison

I love how it takes several donations from strangers to create one wig. Teamwork! :)

I have donated my hair for wigs five times now.

The first time was when I was 11 at my grandmother’s suggestion. She passed away from breast cancer several years ago, so I always think of my hair donation as a mini tribute to her.

This will be the 6th time donating my hair. Everyone on my ringette team, the team I help coach, and my coworkers have been asking me when I’ll be donating my hair because they know it is almost time in my hair donating cycle. It was actually my ringette coach who sent me a screenshot of the donation criteria and email.

So I can’t think of a better way to let everyone know I’m finally cutting my hair again.

Jacyln MacLeod

Cancer has taken far too many of my family members and friends.

In 2005, I decided to start growing out my hair in order to donate toward making a wig for a cancer patient, as it seemed to be something small, but positive, that I could do to help out someone going through such a horrible battle.

In early 2012, I made my first donation, just over a year after my first daughter was born, and decided to continue the trend, should I be lucky enough to have more children.

I made my second donation in early 2016 about two years after my son was born (it took a LONG time for it to grow out that time!), and am glad to make my third now, after the birth of my second daughter this past summer.

Karen Kasian

I had all of my hair shaved off in 2005 for brain surgery to have an aneurysm clipped.

I know what it is like to lose all of your hair. I was told that [my hair] might not grow back and I should look into buying a wig. I never did get a wig. My hair did grow back in three months.

When my hair started to grow back in December 2005, I said that I would grow my hair and not cut it until I could donate it to someone who would need it.

Since then I have never treated my hair or allowed any chemicals to be used on it. I have not even used a blow dryer on it.

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