Losing your hair, at any age but particularly during childhood, can be an extremely traumatic time. Whether it is due to cancer treatments, alopecia or stress, people can often be left feeling isolated, sad, embarrassed or angry.
Unfortunately, alopecia is actually a pretty common disease that causes people of all ages to lose hair from their head and body.
However, there is help out there for anyone suffering from this disease - The Rapunzel Foundation is a charity that helps people going through this tough time by providing information and support.
Set up by Anna Furlong four years ago, the foundation sends much-needed hair and funds to Freedom wigs in New Zealand.
These wigs are not just like any ordinary wig, and won't come off unless they are taken off by the wearer. Using a suction action, the wig won’t fall off even if the wearer goes swimming or is involved in sports or strenous activities.
However, while alopecia is not the only form of hair loss, Freedom wigs will only work on those suffering from this disease as the head needs to be completely free of any form of hair growth.
The foundation accept ponytail donations which they then send to New Zealand to be made into wigs helping to keep the cost of production down. It takes about 20 – 25 ponytails to make a wig and the charity encourages people to donate their hair.
However, the foundation couldn’t do it without the help of registered salons who will cut your hair for free and send it to New Zealand. Since it started in 2010, the charity has sent 2,000 ponytails to Freedom wigs.
If you are interested in donating your hair to the foundation, check out the list of registered salons
who will be able to advise you on how to prepare for the cut. However, you can’t simply walk in off the street - your hair needs to be a minimum of 14 inches, freshly shampooed and worn at the nape of the neck where it will be cut from above the bobbin. Unfortunately, chemically treated hair isn't accepted which excludes those with coloured hair.