Staci Leons-Parnell who owns a hair dressing salon in the town of Anderson in Indiana, recently decided to start raising money to help local cancer patients. She told local reporters: “A lot of times, losing your hair is more devastating than chemotherapy. People who lose their hair don’t feel whole and it doesn’t fall out slowly, it comes out in globs.”
While this is undoubtedly true, chemotherapy has developed massively over the last few years. For instance, a new technique, which is currently underused, cools the scalp to very low temperatures while a patient undergoes treatment. It seems this cooling effect helps reduce hair loss or in some cases has prevented it completely.
Apparently temperatures near zero, cause the hair follicles to become dormant – a kind of stasis. It also prevents absorption of cancer-killing toxins.
One of the main reasons why this new chemotherapy treatment is not used as much as it could is cost. In the US a special cap costs around £1000 each, while the freezer used to cool the scalp costs around £2800.
Yet, over time, these costs will probably fall and so can be used to help more people.
One of those who had scalp cooling chemotherapy is Shirley Billigmeier. She was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago, and pledged to help others in her situation. As such, she created a new charity called the Rapunzel Project. It is this particular charity that Staci Leons-Parnell has got involved in.
Staci added: “It’s our personal goal here at Medusa to get this at Anderson. She’s already held one event that raised $600. Tonight’s event in which the Texas Roadhouse restaurant has agreed to donate 10 percent of each diner’s bill to the project is the second.”
Staci continued: “As far as I know, we’re the only salon in Indiana that’s doing anything with this. If we can do something and be part of something that improves the lives of cancer patients, we’re there. We’re proud to be a part of that.”
The USA has a strong charitable instinct where hair loss is concerned. The UK, however, does not. Instead, many people who lose their hair whether through illness or some other reason either has to suffer the indignity of being bald, or rely on an ill fitting wig.