“Sometimes kids get sick…. And then their hair falls out. That’s really really sad.” So says Emily James, the adorable 3-year-old narrator and subject of a short video, made by her parents’ production company, which follows the selfless little girl (and her dolly) getting her first haircut and donating the cut-off hair to charity.
To date, the video has clocked up well over 2 million views on YouTube, making little Emily an Internet sensation!
Parents blown away by response to hair donation
Emily’s parents, Richard and Amy, have been blown away by the attention and support the video has garnered. In a blog post, Emily’s mother explains that Emily was born with a lot of hair and, by the age of 3, was ready for her first haircut. The parents explained to the 3-year-old what cancer was, how some children lost their hair because of the treatment, and how she could donate her hair to make wigs for these kids. Emily’s response? She was excited to “share her hair”, as long as “uncle Maffew cut Dolly’s hair too.”
Emily's parents, who own a production company, documented the haircut and shared it on Facebook for family and friends. Before long, the video had gone viral, much to their surprise.
"We've had tons of comments and feedback pouring in from people," Amy said. "Some of the comments are overwhelming because people will say things like she's an angel, this has restored our faith in humanity -- all these big comments. What I think is special is that Emily understood that what she was doing is sharing something she had with someone else who needed it."
Why does cancer treatment cause hair loss?
Emily’s hair was donated to the Canadian Cancer Society
, a charity that offers free, fully customised wigs for those with cancer under the age of 19 years. The organisation also provides a wealth of other services and resources, including cancer information, peer support networks, and an online community for people to share their experiences in a supportive and confidential environment.
Chemotherapy treatment uses anti-cancer drugs to destroy cancer cells. Unfortunately, these drugs also affect the normal cells in the body, including hair follicle cells. This is why people undergoing chemotherapy will often experience hair loss. The good news is that the hair loss generally isn’t permanent, and should grow back once treatment is over.
Here in the UK, we at The Belgravia Centre are proud supporters of The Little Princess Trust
, a UK charity that, like the Canadian Cancer Society, provides children who are undergoing cancer treatment with free, real-hair wigs.
To see Emily’s video, visit: http://vimeo.com/87349738