OCT. 24, 2007 | Donating her hair for a cancer patient’s wig hadn’t occurred to Claudia Barone, Ed.D., R.N., dean of the College of Nursing at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), until she happened to talk to a patient at the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute.
“Her hair was about the same color as mine, and she said, ‘Have you ever thought about growing your hair out and donating it for wigs for people like me?’” Barone recalled.
The woman, she learned, had breast cancer and was about to undergo chemotherapy. Struck by the patient’s youth – in her 20s – and condition, Barone was inspired to follow through on the suggestion to grow, and then donate her hair.
That was two years ago.
On Oct. 21, the day before the Komen Race for the Cure, Barone went to her salon. Barone was joined by Kimberly Morton, also a College of Nursing faculty member, who had grown her hair to donate. Barone hadn’t been aware of Morton’s plans until several weeks before when she expressed her amazement at Morton’s long hair.
Because they both happen to use the same salon and were close to making their donations, Barone suggested that the two do so the day before the Race for the Cure.
After her hair was washed, dried and put in a ponytail, Barone asked the stylist for “one last look” at her waist-length hair before he shortened it to about her shoulder blades. “Yea!” she said when her stylist held up the eight-inch lock.
The cut hair was bound with an elastic band at one end and put in a zipper-lock bag. Barone said her next stop was the post office, where she mailed it to Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths, which makes real-hair wigs for cancer patients.
Barone said she had included a letter with her hair asking Pantene that the wig made with her hair be sent to the UAMS Cancer Institute.
Morton, director of academic administration and informatics in the college, donated 12 inches of her hair to Locks of Love, which provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis.
Morton said she was inspired by a coworker who has donated her hair to Locks of Love. To find out how to donate your hair, visit www.locksoflove.org or www.pantene.com/en_US/beautifullengths/makethecut.jsp.