Going to great lengths

A 10-year-old girl from Ma’aleh Adumim donates her hair to cancer patients.

carina krispin 311 (photo credit: Katrina Krispin)
carina krispin 311
(photo credit: Katrina Krispin)
In a land quite far from where she was born, my daughter Carina has performed a wonderful deed. The story began in Toronto, where I worked in the world-famous Hospital for Sick Children in the oncology outpatient clinic on an externship in my final year of nursing studies in 2007. Every day I would meet children and their families who were going through the horrors of cancer, and I would share my experiences with my eldest daughter, Carina.
I then worked at Princess Margaret Hospital in the solid tumor unit and further experienced working with cancer patients. It was then that I discovered the program Look Good, Feel Better and learned about the many people in Canada who donate their hair for those who are undergoing cancer treatment. I brought home some information brochures on this program, and Carina looked through them. 
My selfless and brave daughter approached me and asked if she could donate her hair to cancer. In complete awe at the maturity of my then seven-year-old daughter, I thought it would be a beautiful gift from Carina for someone who had lost their hair to cancer. It was on that summer day in 2007 that Carina began to grow her hair for cancer.
In August 2009 my husband and I and our three daughters decided to move to Israel. Despite the life-changing events for my 10-year-old who had to move to a new country and learn a new language, Carina had not forgotten the reason for growing her hair.  On the day before Pessah, she asked me to finally cut off 36 cm. of her hair to donate to cancer. 
It was not as easy a task to find an organization to donate to as it was in Toronto. When I researched on line, I repeatedly found the name Eli Ben-Zikri of Amuta Pele. After discussing the results with Carina, she decided that she wanted to donate her hair to Ben-Zikri’s foundation. 
I contacted Ben-Zikri immediately and on June 14, Carina and I drove from Ma’aleh Adumim to the Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus in Petah Tikva to meet Ben-Zikri and donate Carina’s hair to his organization.
We were greeted by Susie Singer, a volunteer who works with Ben-Zikri’s foundation. We were then accompanied to Ben-Zikri’s hair salon, located on the lower level of the Davidoff Center at Beilinson Hospital.
I was amazed as I entered the salon. Ben-Zikri was finishing with a client, whose wig (which was donated to her from Amuta Pele) was being washed and styled. On the west side of the salon was a wall unit filled with beautiful hair pieces and wigs made from donated human hair. On the east side stood a table filled with cut hair from new donations. In the center of the salon stood two salon chairs and a revolving mirror – for those who either wanted to see themselves or not.
Carina and I were greeted by Ben-Zikri and his volunteers. They were thrilled that Carina had come all the way from Ma’aleh Adumim to bring her donation. We were given a tour of the salon, an explanation of how the organization works, and a tour of the research center for cancer patients and their families. 
It was a remarkable visit and an amazing experience for my young daughter. Upon leaving the hospital, Carina told me that she was very glad that she had donated her hair to cancer, and in particular to such a wonderful organization. It was a very proud moment for me as a mother and for someone who has worked with many who have suffered, progressed or died of cancer. 
Amuta Pele is a nonprofit organization whose name is a Hebrew acronymfor A Wig for Every Woman. Ben-Zikri, a former cancer patient himselfand a barber for many years, started Amuta Pele in 2003 when he decidedthat there was a need for this service the many women in Israel whosuffer from cancer and the effects of itstreatment. The cost for women to buy these wigs privately can be veryexpensive, and the cost of maintaining them is also high. Hence,Ben-Zikri designed his organization around taking human hair and makingit into wigs for women undergoing cancer treatment. The cost of the wigis free; and the maintenance, which is done at Ben-Zikri’s salon, isnominal.
Amuta Pele is being run at the Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva,Kaplan Hospital in Rehovot and in Nahariya. There are also hair salonsin Israel that will cut hair for free, which is then donated to AmutaPele to be made into wigs. 
At present there is a shortage of such salons, and volunteers areneeded. Donations of hair are always needed and can be donated bygetting a free hair cut by Ben-Zikri or one of his volunteers. Hair canalso be mailed to Amuta Pele. Monetary donations are welcome to helpsupport the costs of making the wigs and for maintaining the costs ofrunning the organization.
For more information or to volunteer, e-mail amuta_pele@walla.com; call 054-457-5901; or visit www.amutapele.com.