As part of a campaign that has inspired more than 10,000 hair donations to support cancer survivors, Hair for Hope India will organise its third such donation drive or Cut-a-thon on July 24, Sunday.
The campaign, a brainchild of breast cancer survivor Premi Mathew, was launched in 2013 and has held two successful global Cut-a-thon events during the Covid-19 pandemic. This time, the campaign will be held both online and offline, across 25 locations, so that more participants can donate their hair to cancer patients.
Despite the pandemic, last June as many as 120 people participated in the first global Cut-a-thon which was held live on Zoom to spread awareness about hair donation. Back then, celebrity actor-supermodel Milind Soman cut his ponytail at Lonavala as part of the drive.
Breast cancer survivor Premi Mathew with two boys who grew their hair and donated pony tails recently
Speaking to The Indian Express, Premi Mathew, founder of Hair for Hope-India, said: “Hundreds will donate at special hair donation events across 25 locations in India directly to cancer patients. We already have 250 registrations. Cancer patients are requested to contact +91-77360 38287 over WhatsApp to apply for five ponytails each. They can give it to a wig-maker who will make customised wigs.”
Mathew, who hails from Kochi, was detected with breast cancer 11 years ago. “Not just hair donation, but we need to spread awareness that early detection (of cancer) can save lives,” she said. She also leads the ‘Protect Your Mom’ breast cancer awareness campaign involving school and college students. “Over 25 teams from all over India will be hosting live events and we will all meet on Zoom to have a Guinness record-breaking global event. Teams from Nagaland to Mumbai and Kerala to Delhi have already signed up,” she added.
The event will be held live on Zoom and anyone who has at least 12 inches of hair can join from across the world, she said. “We held two global Cut-a-thons last year with participants from New York to Singapore. This year, we are planning both offline and online since we can have gatherings,” Mathew said. “Our special donor is a three-year-old boy. A 10-year-old schoolboy from Haryana will also be donating. Three boys have signed up from Pune and Gujarat,” she said.