NGO holds 2nd annual hair donation campaign

Operation "Your hair, their smile" will collect hair donations for wigs to benefit children and youth suffering from cancer.

Hair cutting charity 370 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Hair cutting charity 370
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The NGO Zichron Menachem is to hold its second annual hair donation campaign this week for the benefit of children and youth suffering from cancer.
The operation, entitled “Your hair, their smile,” will run from Sunday to Tuesday in more than 100 hairdressing salons across Israel, where donors will receive free haircuts in exchange for 30 centimeters of their hair.
The donated hair will be collected from the salons by Zichron Menachem volunteers and will be made into wigs, which will be distributed to the young patients whose parents would otherwise not be able to afford their high cost, about NIS 7,000.
“Young patients who suffer from cancer lose their hair due to the chemotherapy treatment and often avoid being seen in public. The wigs are a solution that enables them to feel comfortable and secure,” the NGO, which has been assisting children with cancer and their families for more than 20 years, wrote in a statement.
Eight-year-old Shilat Halfa, of Acre, has been battling cancer for 10 months now.
She and her sister, Liel Halfa, 15, are the faces on this year’s television campaign, along with actor Dvir Benedek.
“It was really fun to film the campaign,” Shilat told The Jerusalem Post on the phone, as she was walking out of Schneider Medical Center in Petah Tikva, where she had undergone medical tests on Sunday.
Before the disease, Shilat had long, thick and wavy hair that almost came down to her knees. Today, she explains she only wears a wig on special occasions such as holiday dinners: “It’s best to be natural,” she said.
“I’m happy I took part in the TV campaign because I really want people to donate hair and make kids happy,” she continued, “Sick kids are also allowed to enjoy life like anyone else.”
Liel Halfa donated 30 centimeters of her long dark hair on camera for Zichron Menachem’s campaign. The video was made into a national television advert which is being broadcast this week.
“Since she started to be sick, I wanted to do something, and I thought about donating hair, but I kind of didn’t take the time to think about it, because I was busy with school and my sister and all,” Liel told the Post, “then when she started losing hers, I felt ready to do it.
“It’s hard because Shilat had a hard time with it. She talked a lot about hair and used be sad about me having hair and her not having any, she also used to ask questions and I didn’t always have an answer for her,” Liel added.
With the hair Liel donated, the NGO is currently creating a wig for her younger sister.
“It makes me happy it will be for my sister, but to be honest, it would have felt the same if it was for any other kid,” she explained. “If I can do something to make them happy, I will do it.”
“It’s nothing for me, my hair will grow back quick enough; for them it will take a long time,” she continued.
Liel and Shilat’s mother, Rachel Halfa, said she is very proud of her daughters for being part of the initiative: “At first people asked me ‘why do you let your kids be on television?’ and said it’s not a good thing for them, but my kids wanted to do it, it came from them, and if it’s for such a good cause, why not?” she said, “When the organization approached us, I told them that they’d have to ask the girls, If they said yes, I’m in.”
“Whenever I go to the hospital, I see all the kids in the oncology department who are crying over their hair. It’s something that means a lot to them,” Rachel added. “I really hope this campaign is successful” The campaign is set to end on Thursday. Because of of last year’s success, this year the idea has been expanded to include communities in France, England and the US.