We all know how a good hair cut can give you a boost. What if you could get a haircut for a good cause and rather than just letting the strands fall to the ground to be swept up and thrown away, donate it to someone in need? Your lovely locks could be turned into [...]


Cut for a cause

Ramani Fernando Salons partners with the Cancer Care Trust in an effort to aid cancer patients

We all know how a good hair cut can give you a boost. What if you could get a haircut for a good cause and rather than just letting the strands fall to the ground to be swept up and thrown away, donate it to someone in need? Your lovely locks could be turned into a wig for a woman battling cancer who is undergoing chemotherapy that can cause hair loss.

Volunteers line up to get their hair cut for the cause as Ramani Fernando ( left) and Dr. Samadhi Rajapaksha look on Pix by Sameera Weerasekara

The Cancer Care Trust, an associate organization of Cancer Care Association has teamed up with Ramani Fernando Salons to aid cancer patients by providing them a wig free of charge. Anyone who has at least 8 inches of hair in length (if layered, the shortest layer should be 8 inches) can walk into any of the 14 Ramani Fernando Salons in Sri Lanka and avail themselves of a free hair cut and blow dry –their cut hair would then donated for this cause. They will receive a certificate of appreciation on the day of the donation. The hair has to be clean, free of oil, hairspray, gel, mousse or any other material; all types of hair are accepted including coloured, straightened, permed or even grey.

The official launch of the hair donation campaign on July 20 saw 12 hair donors and volunteers from Cancer Care Trust leading the way by getting their hair cut for the cause. Also present were founder of Cancer Care Trust Dr. Samadhi Rajapaksha, CEO and founder of Ramani Fernando Salons Ramani Fernando, the only human hair wig manufacturer in Sri Lanka Lalith Dharmawardana, along with Dr Wasantha Jayasuriya and Dr. Lanka Dissanayake, wife and the eldest daughter of the Speaker of Parliament, Karu Jayasuriya. Dr. Jayasuriya and Dr. Dissanayake were representing the family, collaborating with the Cancer Care Trust in supporting cancer patients in Sri Lanka in memory of their daughter/ sister Indira Jayasuriya, who passed away from breast cancer.

The first wig of the hair donation campaign was offered to a 13-year-old from Pudalu Oya, Nuwara Eliya who had undergone chemotherapy. She attended the event with her family.

“My staff has been very supportive and excited to contribute to the programme. Endless inquiries came in from volunteers who were willing to donate their hair right away,” said Ramani Fernando, confident of the success of the campaign.

This hair donation programme is the greatest challenge he had to face in his 40 years in the field as a wig maker, said Lalith Dharmawardana. “Under the special requirement of the Cancer Care Trust, I had to complete a wig in 2-3 days, which usually takes 14-15 days. Yet I’m proud to be a part of a campaign where a woman would sacrifice her beauty on behalf of another,” he says. He makes the wigs for a concessionary price of Rs. 25,000 instead of the normal cost of Rs. 190,000. This event would be an opportunity not only to donate hair but also to help cancer patients by sponsoring a wig.

Giving it all: Dushani Kodithuwakku

Dushani Kodithuwakku, 20, who was bold enough to shave off all her waist length hair expressed her satisfaction in giving it away. “I’m glad that I could donate my hair for cancer patients. It’s good to be able to donate something when you are alive rather than when you are dead,” said Dushani, wrapping a scarf around her bald head.

The only male donor on the campaign so far, 25-year-old Mahesh Madushanka donated his long hair – more than 18 inches in length.

“Women especially undergo psychological traumas over losing hair. The next target of the Cancer Care Trust would be to provide a wig to the patient who is diagnosed with cancer, before starting the chemotherapy treatments. Then she would not have to be worried about losing her hair while undergoing treatment and society would not notice anything strange in her appearance,” said Dr. Samadhi Rajapaksha.

Sporting a sophisticated short cut after donating her hair, Nisansala Rajapaksha, trustee of Cancer Care Trust and wife of Dr. Samadhi Rajapaksha, spoke of her conviction in making the decision.

“Lord Buddha is the teacher who taught us the happiness of giving and now I truly experience the feeling. This is a step ahead from giving materialistic things where you actually donate one of your body parts.”

The hair donation campaign is an ongoing programme. Anyone interested in donating hair, in sponsoring a wig or in need of a wig, can call the HopeLine-0112363211 of the Cancer Care Trust or contact any branch of Ramani Fernando Salons for more information.

A young volunteer has her hair cut by a stylist from Ramani Fernando Salons

All ready for the wig

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