More than 300 women in UAE donate their hair to cancer patients

More than 300 women in UAE donate their hair to cancer patients

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Irene James donates her hair to Dabur’s Locks for Hope Drive.
Image Credit: Supplied
Dubai: More than 300 women expatriates in the UAE have donated 60kg of hair in just two months to Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP) — a non-profit organisation founded in 1999.
FOCP is a member of a group comprising different international and regional organisations, including the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) based in Geneva — Switzerland, The American Cancer Society, The NCD Alliance and Kuwait-based Gulf Federation for Cancer Control. FOCP is also an affiliate of local health bodies such as UAE Ministry of Health, Abu Dhabi Health Authority, Sharjah Health Authority and Dubai Health Authority.

Expats of various nationalities contributed their healthy mane as part of an initiative launched by Dabur Amla in October 2020. The initiative encouraged women to donate their hair in support of cancer patients through FOCP. The campaign titled ‘Strong Hair Stronger You’ has been inspiring women across the UAE to donate their hair.

Indian expatriate Nour Ahmad, 18, said she was motivated seeing other girls and women donating their hair and this pushed her to do the same. “This is such a simple yet meaningful way to morally support those who have had to face the side-effects of chemotherapy. I encourage everyone who is capable to go ahead and make a donation since empowered women empower women!”

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Tharanga Jeevani Ediriweera with her hair that she donated.
Image Credit: Supplied

Sri Lankan expat Tharanga Jeevani Ediriweera, 39, said: “I hope to bring a smile to one person. It will fill my heart with gratitude. I thought it would be difficult to donate my hair during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it wasn’t!”

Filipina expat, Dynah Clarice Revil, 36, said she donated her hair for the initiative as she knew it would help cancer patients to regain their self-esteem and confidence after losing their hair due to chemotherapy treatment. “I know how difficult it is for cancer patients to come to terms with the change in their appearance. I am so blessed and grateful that I am able to help minimise their emotional stress through this gesture.”

Pakistani expat, Batool Hussain, 38, could not agree more. “Fighters do not need donations, they need appreciation! I was in search of a medium to show love and appreciation to my Cancer-fighting sisters. That’s when I came across this initiative by Dabur Amla. The process was so organised and convenient. I am glad I found an easy access to this cause in a tough year like 2020.”

Big move

For another Indian expat, Irene James, 30, this was a big move. As a child, she had been known for her long and lustrous hair. In fact, she would cry at the very thought of cutting her hair, but it was easy for her to take the decision this time. “It was for a good cause. Not everyone has the strength or chance to make another person’s life beautiful. Through this initiative, I was blessed to be able to do that. I did not want to lose this wonderful opportunity. The process was very convenient as I was allocated a Tips and Toes branch in Dubai Festival City Mall, which was very close to my home.”

Arathi Jayaprakash, 19, also recalled how long hair has been part of her life. “My hair gave me a sense of security and shaped my self-identity. But knowing that there are people who do not have that motivated me to donate it. My grandmother had cancer and I remember her being insecure about losing her hair and being upset about it. Knowing that battling cancer and losing hair can affect people’s self-esteem, I wanted to help in whatever way I could. Donating my hair was something that I wanted to do for years and when I got the chance I finally donated it.”

Arathi admitted that she was a little nervous about how she would look after donating 12 inches of her hair. “This was the shortest I have ever had, but it looked great and I’m very glad that I donated it.”

Krishan Kumar Chutani, CEO, Dabur International, said: “We are overwhelmed by the participation of so many thoughtful people who have been instrumental in making our effort a success. Cancer survivors are winners against all odds and we are glad to bring a smile to those winners through this initiative.”

During the campaign, Tips & Toes Salons placed hair collection boxes in 23 branches across the UAE to collect hair from volunteers and offered free haircuts as part of the initiative.

Eliane Haddad, brand manager, Tips & Toes, said: “It has been an honour for us to be a part of such a noble cause. We had 23 of our 33 branches dedicated to this initiative. Clients could visit any of the 23 branches to donate their hair. We are happy to have associated with Dabur Amla and FOCP for having structured a process whereby people could donate their hair easily. We contributed by educating our visiting clientele about the initiative and also offered free haircuts and 30 per cent off hair colour for those who were willing to participate in this cause. People visited our branches where donation boxes were placed to facilitate the process.”


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