Thursday, July 2, 2009

Hair, Smiles, and Self Image by Dr. Okun

This week marked the death of two great celebrities, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. They were both known for their stage presence and smiles. Farah was also known for her beautiful hair and Michael for his beautiful music.

It is ironic then, that Farrah died from cancer, whose cure also causes hair loss. Those close to her said that losing her hair was one of the most devastating parts of the whole cancer experience.

Dr. Okun is very aware of the importance of appearance to feeling good about oneself. This is why she enjoys her job of making beautiful smiles with braces! This is also why she and many of her patients have grown and cut their hair to donate for children and women who have lost their hair from illness. In fact, Dr. Okun’s daughter has donated her hair three times!

Dr. Okun donated her hair to Pantene. The opening phrase on the web site for Pantene Pro-V Beautiful lengths states “You have the power to help a woman during the greatest fight of her life.” With six ponytails Pantene and HairUWear can make a “beautiful, high quality, real hair wig…for a woman who has been affected by hair loss from cancer treatment, at no cost to her.”

The other organizations that Dr. Okun’s patients have supported have been Zichron Menachem (based in Israel but having donation centers in Jerusalem, London and New York), Wigs for Kids (in Rocky River, Ohio), and Locks of Love (in West Palm Beach, Florida). All of these organizations make wigs for children suffering from hair loss diseases, with the costs of these wigs covered by donations. The mission of these organizations is to “help kids look themselves” (as stated on the Wigs for Kids website.)

Zichron Menachem, the Israeli Association to Support Children with Cancer and their families, describes the needs for all kinds of hair to make custom wigs. “Each wig has to be tailor made for each specific child, to enable them to regain their former appearance. The wig is designed according to the exact size and shape of the child’s head, using hair that is as similar as possible to the child’s original hair. A boy whose hair was short and curly will need a short, curly wit. A girl who had long, straight ginger hair will need a long straight, ginger wig. Therefore, we need as many different types of hair as possible.”

Dr. Okun hopes that her example will continue to motivate her patients to donate their hair, and help make the difference in the self image of a child.

1 comment:

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