Locks of Love

Jenny Spiegel donates her hair for a cancer patient.
Jenny Spiegel donates her hair for a cancer patient.

The answer to chemotherapy’s hair loss

If you didn’t think being diagnosed with cancer was bad enough, wait until you learn that chemotherapy will cause your hair to fall out.

Chemotherapy drugs target all rapidly dividing cells, including healthy cells. Hair follicles, the structures in the skin filled with tiny blood vessels that make hair, are some of the fastest-growing cells in the body, dividing every 23 to 72 hours.

But as chemo does its work against cancer cells, it also destroys hair cells. Within a few weeks of starting chemotherapy, the patient may lose some or all of his hair.

The hair loss may start with clumps in a hairbrush or handfuls on a pillow. However it happens, it is startling and depressing. Cancer patients need a lot of support during this time.

Luckily, at the Forest Lake Area Relay for Life event on Aug. 2, the community has a chance to help. Persons with 8 or 10 inches of hair to spare can donate their extra locks to help cancer patients.

First, the person with a long mane enters the Relay for Life tent, where the hair is put into one or more pony tails.

Then, on the stage at 7:45 p.m., all pony tails are cut.

The now short-haired person goes back to the tent for a free hairstyle, donated by a stylist from His & Hers Hair Company, Roxie’s Total Image, Carousel Beauty Salon or Lemon Water Salon.

Just before the luminaries are lit at the end of the ceremony, all donors return to the stage to show their new cuts.

Coordinator Diane Zak said there are still openings to donate ponytails and get a new hairstyle at the Relay for Life. Anyone who has at least 8 inches, for Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths, or 10 inches, for Locks of Love, should call her at 651-408-8282 for a reservation.

Locks of Love is a public non-profit organization that provides hair pieces to financially disadvantaged children in the U.S. and Canada who are suffering from long-term medical hair lost. Their mission is to return a sense of confidence and normalcy by using donated pony tails to provide higher-quality hair prosthetics.

Pantene has donated 24,000 free real-hair wigs to the American Cancer Society’s wig banks.