Cancer charity says 'change' in attitude has led to rise in donations used to make real-hair wigs
Hair we go: More Emiratis cutting locks to help cancer patients
Charitable Emiratis are going to greater lengths than ever before to help those in need by offering their own hair to cancer fighters.
While supporting others with cash donations has always been a key part of the UAE way of life, more and more people are happy to lop off their own locks in aid of cancer patients who have lost their own hair after undergoing bouts of chemotherapy.
It is a more personal form of giving that is becoming increasingly popular in the country, according to a cancer charity manager.
Donations are used to make wigs out of natural hair for cancer patients, offering a much-needed boost of self-esteem for many during a dark period in their lives.
Amal Al Mazmi, a manager at the Friends of Cancer Patients (FCP) charity in Sharjah, has noticed a 'change' in Emirati attitudes towards donating their own hair.
FCP launched its Locks of Hope drive, encouraging people to donate hair, back in 2014, which has received 'remarkable' support from Emiratis.
“There is certainly a change, we have had Emiratis and Arabs come to donate before but mostly in form of money," said Al Mazmi.
"Now their tendency to give away hair is increasingly remarkable. The continuous awareness campaigns of FCP are fruitful and have helped spread the word among all nationalities in the country about the importance of all forms of donations, including hair, because it provides moral support to patients,” she said.
Al Mazmi said as many as 30 to 40 people coming donate their hair every month.
“Last month, there were 19 Arabs among the donators, seven of them were Emiratis,” she said.
Mothers are leading the way - and passing on the spirit o generosity to their children, too.
“Mothers are leading by example. They have been coming with their daughters to give away their hair. I have seen how families are reaching out to their children to participate. Most importantly they explain to them what happens to their hair and where it is going. The children remain excited and determined to participate,” she said.
Al Mazmi said two children, aged just four and five 4, were excited to give away their hair after their parents explained how they would be bringing happiness to others.
Hair donations received by FCP are not restricted to females, however, with men also coming forward to help.
In June, The National told how two Dubai brothers donated their hair in solidarity with a school pal, whose mother was undergoing chemotherapy treatment at the time.