For the past three years, I have been growing my hair to donate to charity. Back then, I wasn't even doing it to be a hair donor, but just because my wife liked my hair long. Right before we got married, I cut it.
I was starting a new job and like many recent college graduates I didn’t want my long hair keeping me from advancing professionally. Years later, when we found out my wife was pregnant with our son, her only condition (jokingly of course) and I’m paraphrasing here ,was:
When my wife and I separated after our son was born, I was lost and faced with the choice of what to do with my life and what to do with my hair. It had already been over a year and a half of growth and I was doing it for her.
Now that our relationship was over, I didn't know what to do. It seemed like cutting my hair then would be selfish in a way, since I had been growing it because I loved her.
The Decision to Be A Hair Donor
It was then that I made the decision to grow it out and donate it, no matter what the cost to my career would be. Since then, it has been hard to advance my career, but my mind was made up because I knew it was the right thing to do.
Someone who needed my hair donation was going to get it.
Fast forward to today, my hair is nearing the length acceptable for donation, but along the way my hair isn't the only thing that has been growing, and the idea to break down the stigma attached to men with long hair was also born.
The Potential for Men to Give as Hair Donors
As of now, just under one percent of men are hair donors. In 2015, approximately 37,000 total organ transplants occurred. Male organ donors made up 60% of the population. If men weren't organ donors, almost 22,000 individuals wouldn't have received the vital organ they needed.
And while hair is not a vital organ for survival, for most women it is a definition of their individuality. Most real hair wigs cost between $3,600 - $6,000. Many women who need wigs need them due to a medical condition.
Strapped with medical bills, many cannot afford a real hair wig. If it were socially acceptable for men to donate their hair, many more women and children would be able to get the hair they need to help them retain their identity during their difficult health issue.
Many fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons have had to watch as the women they love go through an illness that caused them to lose there hair, and I'm sure that once the stigma is broken those same men would be happy to grow their hair to donate it.
As my journey continues, I have found that hair donation has been harder than I expected, but I’m looking forward to the future. If you've never considered being a hair donor, this may be your moment!
Christopher Bell is an accidental hair donor, advocating for men to embrace the journey of hair donation while also working to remove the social stigma preventing men from growing their hair in the workplace.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.