An Israeli charity that provides wigs for children with cancer has appealed to Brits to donate their hair while in Israel, after 16 Jewish girls in London donated their hair and raised thousands of pounds in the process.
Zichron Menachem, which has already given 20 wigs to poorly children in the UK, made the appeal this week, while opening the doors to its new hair and beauty salon at its House of Dreams in Jerusalem with money from the Hebrew Order of David.
The salon has two hair styling stations and a nail bar, because after a cancer diagnosis, one of the first questions children ask is about their appearance, in particular when they will lose their hair.
The charity provides custom-made wigs, matching colours as closely as possible to existing shades, and also payot for religious boys. It also provides advice on how to look after the wigs, which need the same washing and combing care as normal hair.
“Being able to have this done on-site saves children the embarrassment of appearing in public without a wig as well as the difficulty of needing to bring an IV drip or other equipment with them,” said Zichron Menachem UK director Eli Seliger.
“What’s more, we know from speaking to the mothers that a small bit of care leaves them feeling refreshed and ready to meet the heavy demands that come along with caring for a sick child.”
The charity said women and girls from the UK who would like to donate their hair during a trip to Israel could come to the salon and have it cut there by professional hair stylists. In addition, girls in Israel on a gap year will now be able to volunteer at the salon, learning skills at the same time.
This is the first project of its kind supported by the Hebrew Order of David, whose spokesman Anton Tapper said: “We have a close relationship with Zichron Menachem and have supported its UK-based camps for many years.
“This year, we wanted to use our funds to create a lasting legacy. This salon does just that while making a tangible difference to the everyday lives of children with cancer and their families in Israel.”
Last Thursday, 16 girls in London donated their hair to the charity to make wigs for children with cancer in the UK and Israel, with North West London Jewish Day School students Mimi Selig and Olivia Bellau raising nearly £4,000 by doing so.
“We did it in memory of our friend Ella’s mum, who passed away from cancer this year,” said Mimi. “We wanted to help other girls and give them a chance to get a wig if they lost their hair.”