SPOTSWOOD, NJ - Losing hair at any age is heart-breaking, but imagine being a young child or a teen and having to cope with hair loss due to an illness or medical treatment for a disease. This thought is what led Immaculate Conception School sixth grader, Thomas Meehan, to begin growing his hair.
Meehan had heard about youngsters losing their hair because of sickness or courses of treatment such as chemotheraphy that often result in hair loss. A little research with mom and dad's permission steered him toward Children With Hair Loss.
CWHL is a non-profit organization that was formed in September of 2000. Their goal is simple; providing children with medically-induced hair loss, human hair replacements for free. Initially, the organization centered on helping kids that lost their hair due to cancer treatments. However, they soon branched out to include other medical conditions like Alcopecia, Trichotillomania as well as burn-related hair loss in addition to other rare diseases and disorders that cause children to lose their hair. Currently, CWHL provides a tailor-made human hair replacement and care kit to more than 300 kids every year.
Any individual under the age of 21 with medically-induced hair loss can apply for a human hair replacement through Children With Hair Loss. The application process can be done online and must include doctor verification of the illness, disorder or accident causing the hair loss. Applicants also need to provide a photograph so that a hair replacement can be personally designed for the child.
The minimum hair donation to Children With Hair Loss is eight inches. Since Meehan's hair wasn't quite that long when he became interested in his charitable endeavor, he began a quest to grow his locks. The process took about a year. When Meehan's hair had reached the needed length, he headed to the salon along with his mom, Mary.
“Naturally watching the haircut brought me tears of joy," Mary Meehan said when asked about her son's selfless act. "I was so happy for him since I knew that was what he wanted and I was so proud of him. Although he has had such a short haircut like this in the past, during the summer, he looks like a completely different kid now and I miss his hair. The experience was bitter sweet.”
It will take approximately ten weeks for Meehan to receive his certificate from Children With Hair Loss for his altruistic act.
For more information on Children With Hair Loss, visit their website. Hair as well as monetary donations are accepted by the organization.