May 14, 2010

Choosing Where To Donate Your Hair

I've done some research since we donated the Princess's hair. I have heard some stuff about Locks of Love from various sources that was concerning to me and I wanted to check it out.

Here are some of the things I have heard and what I found while researching:

*Locks of Love sells some of the donated hair they receive.

This is something they don't try to hide, it's info you can find right on their website. Locks of Love is a non-profit organization which has to support itself through donations. They get lots of hair donated to them and some of it can't be used (not long enough/bleached, etc) so they do sell unusable hair and use the proceeds to fund operations.

*Hair donated to Locks of Love doesn't usually go to cancer patients.

To be eligible to receive a wig from Locks of Love, the recipient needs to be under 18 years old and suffer from permanent hair loss in most cases. This would include children with Alopecia Areata, burn victims, and sometimes children undergoing radiation and chemotherapy. Most children who are undergoing cancer treatments will be able to grow hair again eventually and may not be eligible to receive a wig from Locks of Love.

*Locks of Love recipients sometimes have to pay, where Pantene Great Lengths doesn't charge the recipients for their wigs:

I think it's important to note that Locks of Love wigs and Pantene Great Lengths wigs are made entirely differently and Locks of Love wigs are more expensive to make. Locks of Love makes custom wigs for children under age 18 with life-long hair loss which can be worn while swimming, playing sports, dancing, etc. Recipients are set up on a sliding scale program and only pay what they can afford. Pantene makes cosmetic wigs mostly for adult women who may be undergoing chemotherapy or temporary hair loss (which are cheaper to make.) I think both programs serve an important purpose.

*Locks Of Love has only made enough wigs to account for 2% of the hair that has been donated to them since they started.

I'm actually not sure where this figure came from and I haven't been able to confirm it through a reliable source. If it is true, it does raise a huge question in my mind as to where the rest of the hair went. Surely more than 2% of the donations they receive should be usable, right? But, since I couldn't confirm it, I would consider this hearsay and wouldn't consider it while making my decision.

*After doing this research, I still feel okay about donating to Locks of Love. Even if The Princess's hair does end up being sold instead of being made into a wig, the money that is made from her hair will still help a child to receive a wig. The Princess really wanted to help another child because she can understand how hard it would be to not have hair at her age. If we could do it all over, would we make the same choice? Maybe, maybe not.

*Please keep in mind, I'm not speaking for any of these organizations and the info I have found may or may not be true.

If you are considering donating your hair, here are some choices:

http://www.wigsforkids.org/
http://www.childrenwithhairloss.us/
http://www.locksoflove.org/
http://www.beautifullengths.com/en_US/parties.jsp

I actually would feel good about donating to any of them. I guess you would just need to decide which is right for you. I know that several of you have already donated your hair to various organizations. If you have any input on your experience, I would love to hear about it in the comments. :)

P.S. Guess what I'm watching right now?? If you're in Utah, turn your TV to channel 4!! Adopt a Do (one of my favorite fellow hair bloggers) is going to be on Good Things Utah today at 10:00. How cool is that?