BYU students have the opportunity to donate their hair through Y-Serve’s “Share Your Hair” event and find it is an easy way to serve others.
Share Your Hair is a semi-annual event, taking place once every fall and winter semester. Students must donate at least eight inches of hair. The hair can be dyed, treated or grayed. While the event runs for only a couple of weeks, students are still encouraged to take in hair donations to the Y-Serve Office anytime during the year.
This semester’s event started on Oct. 18 and lasted until Nov. 12. Students who volunteered to donate their hair were eligible for a free haircut from the stylists at Studio 1030 in the Wilkinson Student Center.
“I’m not super attached to my hair, so I’m happy to let someone else use it and really appreciate it,” sociology senior Hannah Dixon said.
Dixon had donated her hair one other time and has been growing it out since in the hopes of donating it once again. While the casual onlooker might not have considered her hair to be significantly long, she could still donate the minimum eight inches for this semester’s event.
Hair donations like Dixon’s go to a nonprofit organization based in Missouri called Children with Hair Loss. The organization makes wigs for children and young adults who have lost hair because of cancer treatments, alopecia, trichotillomania, burns and any other causes. Children and young adults receive wigs at no cost to themselves.
Since 2000, Children with Hair Loss has donated more than 5,000 hair replacement and care kits to children across the United States. For the wig recipients, hair loss is just the beginning of the side effects they deal with. These kits are designed to assist children in a small way during their healing process.
Share Your Hair program director Elisabeth Cupp said it surprised her to see so many different people wanting to do a small thing by donating their hair. “It doesn’t take that much effort, and most of the time you are just going to cut it anyway,” she said. “So you can cut it and just get rid of it, or you can cut it and donate it to someone who needs it.”
Claire Fisher, a hair stylist at Studio 1030, agreed. She said people usually donate their hair because it’s long enough and they were planning on cutting it anyway. They have a “why not” attitude, “which is honestly all you really need sometimes.”
Lauren Rose, a freshman studying elementary education, was one of those people. She had been wanting a major hair transformation before leaving for college but hadn’t found the time. “When I saw the event, I thought, dang, this is the perfect excuse to finally cut my hair.”
For Rose, the experience was exciting. She donated about 1.5 feet of hair, going from waist-length to shoulder-length hair. Rose said her hair stylist really got into the haircut and made it a fun experience.
For others, the experience was more nerve-racking. Kenna Fry, a freshman studying English, went from having waist-length hair to a pixie cut, which she called a “dramatic transformation.”
Before going to the hair salon, Fry looked at the Share Your Hair and Children with Hair Loss Instagram accounts. As she looked at the pictures of people sharing their hair and kids with wigs, she felt like someone else would enjoy her hair so much more than she did.
While it was a rough couple of days for Fry as she first adjusted to her new hairdo, she is now enjoying her short hair.
“My hair does mean a lot to me, but donating is a simple way I can serve,” family life senior Jane Christensen said. “It’s a nice way to share something that I’ve been blessed with.”
This semester’s Share Your Hair event was not the first time Christensen has donated her hair. Before leaving on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Christensen decided that in addition to giving her time and service, she also wanted to give her hair.
Christensen spent the duration of her mission growing out her hair and donated 12 inches when she returned home. She plans to regularly donate her hair in the future.
Over the duration of the event, 238 hair donations were collected and turned into the Y-Serve Office. The donations will be shipped to Children with Hair Loss.