Hair heroes — Losing locks to support women with cancer
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.pantenebeautifullengths.com.au
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.