Giving Back in Honor of My Patients

Northwestern Medicine
Nursing May 08, 2012

Donating Hair for Cancer PatientsAs an oncology nurse for the past two years, I have been witness to many life changing moments.  Some of the moments are full of heart break, loss, and desperation, while others have brought joy, laughter, and awe.  Often times, all these emotions can occur in a single 12 hour shift and leave my coworkers and I wanting to do and give more.

To help patients battling cancer and honor our patients, we hosted our first-ever “Make the Cut” event on Sunday, May 6.  More than 60 hair donors participated, allowing us to collect over 130 ponytails! All of the hair will benefit Beautiful Lengths, a campaign created through the partnership of Pantene and the American Cancer Society,  to generate free, real-hair wigs for women who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy treatments. The American Cancer Society distributes the wigs to cancer patients across the country- many right here at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

I felt amazed and impressed that so many people came out to give such a beautiful gift to a woman undergoing chemotherapy and fighting for her life.  I’ve donated my hair three times in the past, but this time felt more personal as my career has allowed me to see first-hand the impact that hair donation has on a patient. I had chills as I looked around during the countdown before the “initial cut” and saw the excitement and love in everyone’s faces. It was a day full of joy, laughter, and awe as hair donors, volunteer stylists, speakers, photographers, and guests shared inspiring stories of survivorship and passion for fighting cancer. Thank you to all who participated.

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