According to the National Health Secretariat, breast cancer is is the leading cause of cancer deaths among women in Mexico. Approximately 17,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, of which 5,000 die, said Gerardo Castorena, director of the ABC Medical Center’s Breast Imaging Centers.
In an effort to help women who are suffering from breast cancer, the ABC held a daylong session on April 26 in which people were encouraged to donate their hair to be made into wigs for cancer patients. As part of the event, hair donors received a new cut courtesy of the styling team of Revlon Professional.
Donor Berenice Guerrero said that she decided to donate hair because, “I know a little bit about the disease and how difficult it is, and at the end of the day, for me it’s just hair. If I can help, it doesn’t cost me anything. Hair grows back.”
ABC Medical Center public relations and marketing director Nancy Stich said that the annual event first started three years ago. Once the hair is donated, it is woven into wigs and donated to cancer patients with limited financial means.
“Last year we had over 200 donations,” Stich said. “It’s not enough hair from just one donation to make a wig. It takes about four donations of good heathy hair at least 25 to 30 centimeters long to make a single wig. It’s a very artesenal product because it’s all woven by hand. It takes the lady that makes them about two months to make each wig.”
But the ABC hair-donation event wasn’t just about producing wigs. Stich said that this year the ABC offered something new, geared toward younger cancer patients. “We’re donating little hats made out of yarn, because a lot of the children don’t like to wear wigs,” she said. “They say it’s scratchy and uncomfortable.”
The event aims to benefit everyone involved. “I think the person who gives the hair benefits because she feels like she’s doing something to help someone with cancer,” Stich said. “And the person who receives the wig and the family members also benefit because they see their patient happy and the woman can look in the mirror and be happy with what she sees.”
The event also included a workshop which taught patients how to protect their skin while undergoing harsh chemotherapy and radiation treatments. (Chemo can make skin drier and more sensitive to chemicals and other environmental factors.)
The ABC Medical Center will hold another hair-donation event event in November.
Please visit the ABC Medical Center’s website to find out more.