Hair he­roes — Los­ing locks to sup­port women with can­cer

ME - - Contents -

Imag­ine look­ing in the mir­ror and see­ing your hair fall­ing out.

Aside from the phys­i­cal ef­fects of can­cer treat­ment, the emo­tional roller­coaster that comes along with it can be just as tough for many women.

Shep­par­ton’s Natalie Jalka­nen, 26, wit­nessed the heartache this can cause when her aunt, Sue Lewis, was di­ag­nosed with can­cer in 2013.

“The chemo­ther­apy was mak­ing her hair fall out, so she had a get-to­gether with fam­ily and friends and had sort of a party for shav­ing her head,” Natalie said.

“She needed a wig and it got me think­ing, so we started talk­ing about it with a lo­cal hair­dresser.”

Natalie had been grow­ing her hair out for sev­eral years, and see­ing the dif­fi­culty her aunt en­dured in los­ing her hair, gave her the in­spi­ra­tion to get her own pony­tail cut off at Bright Eyes Hair­dress­ing and Day Spa at River­side Plaza, Kialla.

The hair was then do­nated to the Pan­tene Beau­ti­ful Lengths pro­gram, which sup­ports women who have lost their own locks through can­cer treat­ment, by pro­vid­ing free wigs made from real hair.

Natalie’s mother Sheena Lewis and her cousin Kyla Miniken also do­nated their hair on the same day, along with Natasha Wil­son, a stranger who also vol­un­teered for the cause.

“To re­alise how happy my aunty was when she re­ceived her wig (was beau­ti­ful), I would def­i­nitely en­cour­age oth­ers to get in­volved,” Natalie said.

Pan­tene spokes­woman Nitin Dar­bari said the pur­pose of the pro­gram was to not only sup­port women with can­cer, but to pro­vide a way for women to sup­port each other through do­nat­ing their hair or sim­ply rais­ing aware­ness. Men and chil­dren of all ages are en­cour­aged to come to­gether to sup­port the pro­gram as well.

“Thank you to ev­ery­one who has helped con­trib­ute to the 10000 pony­tails now re­ceived; your sup­port con­tin­ues to help women in Aus­tralia and New Zealand shine strong in their fight against can­cer,” Ms Dar­bari said.

For more in­for­ma­tion on Pan­tene Beau­ti­ful Lengths pro­gram, go to www.pan­tenebeau­ti­ful­

Story: Rhi­an­non Gavalakis

Shep­par­ton’s Natalie Jalka­nen was one of 10000 peo­ple who do­nated their pony­tails to the Pan­tene Beau­ti­ful Lengths pro­gram to help women with can­cer. Pic­tured are Sue Lewis (front) with Kyla Miniken, Sheena Lewis, Natalie Jalka­nen and Natasha Wil­son.

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