One of the most devastating aspects of having cancer - according to patients and survivors - is the ensuing hair loss
that treatment can cause.
Whilst scalp cooling systems
used during chemotherapy may minimise or prevent hair fall in some cases, there are still many, many people affected by cancer-related baldness. BBC News reporter Victoria Derbyshire recently spoke about how, despite wearing a cold cap during her chemo sessions for breast cancer, she still lost her hair and found it to be "the worst part
" of her cancer experience.
As a response to her own experience, cancer survivor Heather Moore and her close friend Iva-Mary created a hair loss solution for patients, which has now grown into a fully fledged Totnes-based volunteer programme.
Volunteering Matters' 'Heather's Hair' project
Some of the hairpieces on offer from Heather's Hair
When Heather Moore lost her hair to chemotherapy
she did not enjoy being temporarily bald but also did not want to wear a wig all the time. Together with Iva-Mary the two developed ideas for a solution suitable specifically for cancer patients which would be less cumbersome than many wigs. They called the project 'Heather’s Hair'.
Heather's Hair provides innovative and comfortable 'alternative hairpieces' which involve human hair being stitched into a soft headband or attached to an Alice band or even a hat. These clever weaves provide the illusion of a full head of hair when worn under a hat or headscarf, without the weight, heat or discomfort that can come with wearing a full wig
Whilst other UK charities, notably the Little Princess Trust
for girls and its boys counterpart, Hero by LPT
, are able to provide full wigs for children with hair loss caused by cancer treatment or alopecia areata
, Heather's Hair does not provide the same product. It also caters for men and women - not just children.
After the Totnes Costume Museum put on a display of the thoughtful weaves the pair created, it inspired others to join, helping with wig styling and promotion, as well as making the weaves by hand.
The Heather’s Hair project is now part of the Volunteering Matters charity's Retired and Senior Volunteer Programme.
Charitable donations needed to provide service
Customers can choose from five different hairstyles and four hair colour choices, though the hair can also be dyed to match their natural shade. The fringe pieces come already styled though they can also be sent with a longer length (shown in the top image here) so that they can be trimmed in-situ to suit the wearer's face.
Despite operating only three days per week - Monday to Wednesday - Heather's Hair aims to send all weave orders out to anywhere in the UK within a week.
All Heather's Hair weaves cost just £8, which is simply to cover postage and packaging. When selecting a product from the charity's online shop, there is an option to leave a donation which - whilst hugely appreciated - is not compulsory.
As with most charities, the project relies on financial contributions in order to provide its worthwhile service without charging for the hairpieces.
Anyone interested in finding out more about Heather's Hair or donating to the charity can visit their website at heathershair.co.uk