Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Beautiful Lengths...

Well I finally did it! I cut and donated my hair! As of this Sunday, I had been growing my hair out for donation for two years and nine months. I donated a total of sixteen inches to Pantene's Beautiful Lengths Program.

I chose to donate through Pantene this year (I donated through Locks for Love after I had Alan) for a few different reasons. Around the time I had originally planned on donating, I had heard some negative comments about Locks for Love. I spoke with my boss, who also runs the Livestrong Program at the Y, about other options and she introduced me to Beautiful Lengths. Pantene joined with The American Cancer Society to develop this program in 2006. They have since donated more then 500,000 ponytails! That is 24,000 wigs! :D They also are a bit more lenient on their donation requirements, which is more realistic to these days with how many women dye their hair. This was the program for me.

If you have never heard of Beautiful Lengths:
(Taken directly from their website…)

Beautiful Lengths is a partnership between Pantene® and the American Cancer Society®, the largest nonprofit health organization committed to saving lives from every cancer and improving the quality of life for people facing the disease. The role of Pantene is to help women grow long, strong, beautiful hair and to provide the funds to turn this hair into free, real-hair wigs for women with cancer. So far, Pantene has donated 24,000 free real-hair wigs to the American Cancer Society’s wig banks, which distribute wigs to cancer patients across the country. To see if you are eligible to receive a free wig or if there are wigs available in your area, please call the American Cancer Society’s Wig Bank Line at 1-877-227-1596.

Since Pantene started the Beautiful Lengths program back in July 2006, we have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support. Every year, we receive page after page with messages of hope and gratitude, of love and of loss. We receive boxes of photos of women, children, and even men holding their ponytails, sporting a new short style, with notes attached in memory of their loved ones. These photos, letters, and cards are moving and inspiring in the purest way.

I know people from all walks of life who have been affected by cancer. Parents, children, friends, family members, classmates, coworkers… Cancer is a complete life-changer. Even after recovery, your life is never the same. As long as I continue to be healthy, I will continue to support cancer research and will continue to donate my hair. If you would also like to donate your hair to Beautiful Lengths, here are the requirements.

For durable and realistic wigs, donated hair must meet these requirements: 

**Donated hair must be a minimum of 8 inches long (hair is measured from just above the elastic band of the ponytail to the ends)
**Donors may straighten hair to measure wavy/curly hair
**Hair is washed and completely dry, without any styling products
**Hair may be colored with vegetable dyes, rinses and semi-permanent dyes. It cannot be bleached, permanently colored or chemically treated
**Hair may not be more than 5% gray

This is because it takes eight ponytails to make each wig, and the ponytails for a single wig will be dyed a uniform color. Gray hair (along with permanently colored, bleached, or chemically treated hair) doesn't absorb color at the same rates as other types of hair, making a uniform color unachievable.

To us, it’s hair, but to women with cancer, it’s hope.

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