Each year, over one million men, women and children are diagnosed with some form of cancer. Through the surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy, their bodies take a harsh beating; it is the support of family and friends that makes all the difference.
One of the most common side effects of chemotherapy is hair loss, and organizations like Pantene Beautiful Lengths have made it their mission to create free real-hair wigs for women with cancer.
Hallie Kaplan, a third-grader at the Epstein School, recently donated eight inches of her curly brown locks to Beautiful Lengths. At only 7 years old, Hallie will touch the life of one woman fighting cancer by giving her the gift of hair, something so easily taken for granted.
Several years ago, Hallie was at a salon when she saw a woman pull her hair back and cut off the long ponytail. Right then, Hallie made the decision to grow out her own hair; Hallie soon forgot the resulting exchange with her mother, but kept growing out her hair.
One year ago, Hallie’s schoolmate and close friend Nolan Goldklang was diagnosed with leukemia. After struggling to tell her daughter, Hallie’s mother Karen Kaplan explained Nolan wouldn’t feel well for a while and would lose his hair, but hopefully he would get better. After visiting Nolan in the hospital, Hallie’s determination to donate was renewed.
On July 12, Hallie finally was ready for highly anticipated hair cut. Within minutes, years of waiting were over, and she was left with an eight-inch ponytail ready to be sent to Pantene, where it will become a beautiful wig.
Hallie wants to keep growing out her hair and donating as many times as she can.
“I thought it was cool, but after when they showed me the hair, I had to hold it and I thought that was creepy,” she said.
Hallie has even inspired other children to donate their hair. At a young age, Hallie has done a generous mitzvah, a great example of how something as simple as a haircut can change someone’s life.
By Jesse Miller
Editor’s note: Looking for a way to get involved in the global fight against cancer? The Atlanta Jewish Times proudly sponsors Relay for Life Ruach Atlanta, the first-ever American Cancer Society relay to be held on a Sunday (not conflicting with your Shabbat observance)! Get ready for the Oct. 14 event at relayforlife.org/ruach.