‘HAIR GIVING’ Marks the Spirit of CHRISTMAS of ‘SHARING & GIVING’ at St Aloysius College

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‘HAIR GIVING’ Marks the Spirit of CHRISTMAS of ‘SHARING & GIVING’ at St Aloysius College

Mangaluru: Donating hair for cancer patients is both easy and rewarding and anyone can do so. Your hair that takes so long to grow can be made into a beautiful wig for someone who really needs it to maintain a positive body image after her hair is shed due to chemotherapy. Yes, the need is great. Hair is an important part of our looks and the way we project ourselves to the world. Hair is precious and even more so to someone who loses it suddenly due to medical reasons. For cancer patients, hair loss is the most stressful and traumatic side effect of chemotherapy and radiation treatment. This effect on their appearance can be a further setback to patients who are already enduring physical and emotional hardship. The patients lose their identity, lack self-esteem and have lowered morale.

And for that matter, The Centre for Social Concern (CSC) at St Aloysius College, Mangaluru, along with Indian Catholic Youth Movement, Central Council, Diocese of Mangalore, Caritas India, CODP Sparsha – Campaign Against Cancer and Mercy Beauty Academy, Mangaluru run by Ms Mercy D’souza organized ‘BEAUTIFUL LENGTHS’ Hair Donation Drive here at Eric Mathias Hall, MAFFEI (IT) Block at St Aloysius College (Autonomous) on Tuesday, December 21. This project was organized aiming to help the poor patients with free wigs, and it will be donated to Hair Bank-Thrissur, where the wigs are done.

Having cancer is bad enough, but being robbed of dignity and self-esteem is even worse. Team Mangalorean congratulates the nearly 50 hair donors, young and old between 17 to 70 years, for bringing a smile back on the face of poor patients, and that many more would be motivated to do this noble cause, by this noble activity. It was a dream come true for Alroy D’Souza, a software engineer working in Bengaluru, who grew his hair to donate it for cancer patients, and he donated his hair at this Hair Donation Drive. Speaking to Team Mangalorean Alroy, who donated hair which was of a length of 12 inches said “During my college days, I had come across hair donation drives for cancer patients. Inspired by them, I started growing hair for the past three years. When I heard about the hair donation drive happening in the college, I decided to participate, and I am happy that I could bring smiles on the faces of the needy this Christmas”.

This project has created awareness of this dreaded disease (Cancer) by instilling hope, awareness, detection, treatment and prevention of cancer. This is a very good initiative of everyone behind this project towards a cancer-free society. Cancer starts off very slowly then it severely affects our body. We will be alert for a while and tend to forget to get treated. We need people who create hope, and the organizers of “Beautiful Lengths’ have done a tremendous job to create awareness of cancer.

All hair donors were very glad to have got the chance to donate their hair. Those who were present for this program not only appreciated this activity by the organizers but were also inspired to donate their hair. Sejal D’Souza, a first-year BCom student of St Aloysius College, who never went to a beauty parlour for a hairdo for quite some time, said that she had grown her hair to a length of 39 inches, and donated hair of a length of about 14 inches, during the drive. “Everybody was envious about my long hair. I never went to the beauty parlour for a hair cut for all these years. I was moved when I heard about the plight of cancer patients. Though my family members opposed it, when I told them that I was cutting my hair, I convinced them by showing that it was for a good cause. I will donate hair once again when it grows back,” expressed Sejal.

Philomena Fernandes, staff coordinator, CSC, said it takes more than three months to prepare wigs, which will be later distributed to the needy. A person with hair of a minimum length of 12 inches, can donate. Rector of St Aloysius Institutions, Mangaluru Fr Melwin Pinto SJ said, “We should actually honour the donors who have come forward to donate their hair for those who are suffering from cancer.” Fr Dr Praveen Martis, principal, St Aloysius College, said, “This is a good initiative. We always need to give something to those who are in need and this is the best way to help someone who is suffering.”

60-year-old Ms Pinto, from Padavinangady, said, “I have seen my sister in hospital suffering from cancer. She was worried about hair fall. Hence, I decided to donate hair. I grew my hair and donated it.” Tejaswini from second-year BA said, “This was in my mind from long ago. I started growing my hair for this day. I feel really happy to donate my hair to cancer patients.” Aishwarya from 2nd year Masters in St Aloysius College said, “Being a biology student, I read about cancer where they will have hair fall. So I decided to donate my hair to cancer patients.”

Lenet Gonsalves, Programme Manager, CODP; Fr Ashwin Cardoza, Director, ICYM Mangalore diocese; CODP Programme Coordinator Ms Shilpa; President of ICYM Mangalore diocese Jaison Crasta; Ms Mercy Veena D’Souza from Mercy Beauty Academy and oncologist at Fr Muller Hospital, Mangaluru Dr Karthik were also present. Ms Jennifer Mascarenhas, Dean, Extension Services, St Aloysius College welcomed the gathering, while Coordinator of Centre for Social Concern Ms Philomena Fernandes proposed the vote of thanks. The programme was meticulously compered by Ms Mazel Fernandes.

In conclusion, in my perspective, Donating hair is one of the ways by which we can support those living with cancer. If you’ve heard that you can donate your hair to benefit women and children with cancer, you’re correct. Look for organizations that organize Hair Donation Drives, where you can put your hair for good. If you’ve watched a loved one go through cancer treatment, or if you’ve gone through cancer treatment yourself, you may have felt an urge to “give back.” Donating your hair is a non-monetary way that you can benefit people living with cancer directly. One of the most dreaded side effects of cancer treatment is hair loss, whether due to chemotherapy-induced hair loss or as a side effect of radiation therapy to the brain. For both men and women, hair can play a role in your self-image.

Hair donations are just one method by which people can support those living with cancer. Donating hair to help women and children with medically-induced hair loss is a wonderful way to help those who are coping with unfair diseases such as cancer, or accidents such as burns. Many people think that monetary donations and gifts of large chunks of time are far more valuable, but that’s simply not true. Through hair donation, you not only give a part of yourself (literally) but do something that can help someone living with cancer today. For those of you who chose to donate your hair at ‘Beautiful Lengths’ Hair Donation Drive, Team Mangalorean on behalf of the Organizers offer sincere thanks and especially to the Organizers a million thanks for a job well done for a good cause. Kudos!

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