Are the blistering summer months making long hair too much to handle? If you’re ready for a short cut or just feel like making a charitable contribution, you can donate your hair to help out someone who doesn’t have any to cut.
Donations can be made year-round, but throughout the month of March, Beauty Club salon in the western San José suburb of Escazú is partnering with the nascent local organization Helping Hands, offering half-priced haircuts ($10-12) to anyone willing to donate at least eight inches of hair.
“It’s a great way to be able to help someone who’s really in need,” said Evangeline Mathura of Canada, organizer of the initiative.
“It’s the first time Costa Rica has had something like this.”
Helping Hands, a humanitarian foundation recently started by Mathura, will collect the hair and donate it to the U.S.-based nonprofit organization Locks of Love, which provides prosthetic hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children under 18 who have suffered permanent hair loss as a result of a medical condition known as alopecia areata, or patchy baldness, of which there is no known cause or cure, according to the Locks of Love Web site. The organization also helps children who have lost their hair as a result of cancer treatments.
“I’m very happy we can support the cause, as cancer has touched my own life and that of my mother,” said Beauty Club owner Elaine Chalmers, who confirmed that the salon will be offering discounted haircuts through March in support of the cause.
Mathura said wigs donated through Locks of Love offer a huge boost of confidence to afflicted children, and relieves their families of an enormous financial burden most wouldn’t be able to handle.
“These wigs (in the United States) run between $2,000 and $6,000,” Mathura said. “But through Locks of Love, (the wigs) are given to patients for free.”
On the cause’s opening day, Feb. 26, seven generous women volunteered to donate their hair. Escazú resident Meranda Glesby, 29, was happy to have 12 inches of her dark brown tresses chopped for the cause. Glesby is the pioneer of a foundation that helps the unemployed get necessary job training in fields such as construction, accounting and retail to help them eventually land full-time jobs.
Ten-year-old Batya Globerman, also from Escazú, turned up at Beauty Club to hand over her own donation in a Ziploc bag.With her little hand at her midsection, she showed how long her hair fell before she cut it, leaving it at shoulder length.
“It’s not too heavy anymore, and I don’t have tangles,” she said.
“I think it’s marvelous having a young girl give her hair to help another young girl,” said María Arce, president of the Foundation Pro Unity for Palliative Care, based in San José.
Arce’s foundation teamed up with Helping Hands to support the event, and plans to partner with Mathura for other humanitarian events in the future.
Her organization may be new, only a month old, but Mathura, at just 24 years of age, has many years ahead of her and many ideas with which to continue with her humanitarian efforts. But for now, she said, leaning back in the stylist’s chair, she’s pleased with this first step.
“I’m happy about this because I know someone else will appreciate it,” she said.
“My hair can always grow back … Every morning when I wake up, I will know what I’ve done to help someone else.”
Hair donations must be at least eight inches long, undamaged by chemicals and no more than 5% gray. To make an appointment at Beauty Club, call 288-0059. For more information about Helping Hands, visit www.endpoverty.meetup.com/44.