When 7-year-old Sophie Woodcock learned that cancer patients can lose their hair during chemotherapy, she was so upset she decided to cut off her own hair and donate it to United States-based charity Locks of Love.
Sophie’s mother, Richelle Woodcock, said that the idea came about when her daughter asked her about the disease.
“I explained how some people get sick for no reason, and that they have to poison your body to make you better, and how that can make your hair fall out … but she didn’t really get that, so we went to YouTube and watched some videos,” her mother said. “She saw little kids going through chemo and she got really upset. She thought it was really unfair. She said, ‘You mean they get sick, and they have to stay in hospital, and they lose their hair?’
“She was very sad, and said she didn’t know how to stop being sad,” Ms Woodcock added. “I explained that sometimes, if you do something to help it can make you feel better. So we looked at different charities online and came across Locks of Love.
“Everybody compliments her hair. It’s long, and thick and beautiful, I think two, maybe even three children could benefit from her hair.”
Locks of Love is a US-based nonprofit organisation that provides hair pieces to financially disadvantaged children in the US and Canada. Donated hair makes the best quality prosthetics, and for children who have lost their hair due to illness, a wig can help restore their self-esteem and confidence.
Hair donations must be at least 10 inches long and must be in a ponytail or braid. The organisation recommends having one’s hair cut at a salon where staff are familiar with the procedure.
Jennifer Weber, operations manager of the Cayman Islands Cancer Society, donated her own hair to the same organisation last year.
Sophie made the decision to donate her hair to less fortunate children back in November. Her mother wanted to make sure this was not a passing whim and has been waiting to make sure Sophie doesn’t change her mind. Sophie is adamant this is what she wants to do, however, and as her hair is now long enough, she was booked in for the big cut on Friday, 22 February, at Focus Hair & Beauty.
Sophie’s parents and family are a little apprehensive about the hair cut – some family members have even offered to sponsor her not to cut it – but they are also impressed by her selflessness.
“I’m really proud of her – but I’m also humbled,” Ms Woodcock said.
When colleagues in Ms Woodcock’s office heard what Sophie was doing, they began to come forward with sponsorship.
“I didn’t expect this reaction from people, but in just two or three days we’ve raised $1,200,” she said.
Ms Woodcock plans to send $500 to Locks of Love along with Sophie’s braid, as they accept financial contributions as well. The remainder of the donations she wishes to keep local, so they will donated to the Cayman Islands Cancer Society.