By Anav Silverman
Over 200 hair salons across Israel took part in the annual nationwide drive to collect hair for the Zichron Menachem Cancer Support in Israel in partnership with Pantene Products Israel. From Kfar Tapuach to Herzliyah and from Arad to Haifa, women and girls donated their hair locks at hair salons that provided free haircuts during the three-day marathon that took place from November 24-26.
In Jerusalem, hundreds of girls, teens, and women as well as men (with long hair) arrived to the Malha Mall on Tuesday to take part in the opening event, where hundreds of braids were cut and sent to be made into wigs that will be donated to girls and women with cancer.
Jerusalem hair stylist, Lior Kakon told Tazpit News Agency that this was his first year participating in the initiative.
“I don’t have my own hair to contribute, so I do it through my profession. There were three high school girls today who stopped to get their free haircuts for this important initiative,” Kakon told Tazpit.
“I hope to cut hair again for Zichron Menachem drive next year.”
The non-profit Zichron Menachem was founded in 1990 in the memory of 15-year-old Menachem Ehrental, who died after battling cancer and provides practical and long-term aid and solutions to young cancer patients both at home and in the hospital. SMenachem’s father, Chaim thanked all the hair donors for their contributions on Wednesday. “The hair salons are doing holy work and I want to thank all those who contributed their hair for this cause.”
“We are creating wigs of all possible lengths and styles, in every color available, as well as every hair texture, from straight to curly and more, so that every cancer patient in Israel will be able to receive a new wig made of quality natural hair, identical to the hair she lost,” explained Ehrental. “The wigs are given for free and remain forever with the recipient.”
Any hair can be donated, except for severely damaged hair, hair that is completely white or gray and dreadlocks, as there is not sufficient demand for these hair types.
“Frequently, the first question that a girl or woman diagnosed with cancer asks the doctor, is how treatment will affect the hair on her head. The opportunity that we have to give those who are battling cancer, free quality wigs is vital to them and a moving experience for all those involved,” added Ehrental.
In the last two years, Pantene Products in Israel, as part of the company’s international campaign to encourage women to donate hair to women fighting cancer, has partnered with Zichron Menachem, contributing NIS 350,000 for the wig-making. Pantene also covers advertising costs for television, radio and the internet to encourage Israelis to donate their hair. Consequently, hair donations to Zichron Menachem have increased dramatically.
“Hair is precious, and it’s the greatest gift you can give away to someone who needs it,” Zichron Menachem spokeswoman, Devorah Sorotskin told Tazpit.
For sisters, Vered and Shirley, from Rishon Lezion, donating hair to the drive wasn’t a question. “Our father passed away battling cancer five years ago. We pray that no one will have to suffer from any more losses from this terrible disease,” said Shirley, who proudly watched her sister get her braid cut for the campaign.
“When our father passed away from cancer, one month after finding out he had it, there was nothing I could do to help. But today I got the opportunity to do something small – to give away my hair to those battling this disease,” said Vered.
Tazpit News Agency