After being diagnosed with cancer in 2010 and receiving successful cancer treatment at The Ottawa Hospital, Helene Hutchings founded Hair Donation Ottawa as a way to give back to her community.
The annual fundraiser held in April recruits local, licensed hairstylists and barbers, hair donors and volunteers to help raise funds for cancer research at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and The Ottawa Hospital. This year, 16 salons including Texture Hair Salon, Chatters Trainyards, Heather’s Hair Studio and Precision Styling will be participating in the event.
“I am eternally grateful for the many hairstylists who give so selflessly of themselves to help Hair Donation Ottawa and others,” says Hutchings.
Since 2011, Hair Donation Ottawa has raised over $250,000. Last year, approximately 280 participants donated their hair or shaved their head for the cause.
“It’s a great way to give back to the community while using my craft,” says Ramsey Sayah, owner of Texture Hair Salon.
Sayah has been part of the Hair Donation Ottawa event for two years. He says it’s a time for local salons to come together to support a good cause.
“It’s one day for salons and hairstylists to unite as one and give back, says Sayah. “It’s not about being the best. It’s about giving your time and using your craft to help make a difference.”
New to this year’s fundraiser is Hair Donation Ottawa’s wig distribution project, which provides free wigs made of human hair and synthetic hair to local children.
Hair from this year’s fundraiser will also be donated to other Canadian organizations that provide free wigs. All additional hair not suitable for wigs is donated to Green Circle Salons, which recycles it into hair booms used for oil spills.
In addition to the main fundraiser, Hair Donation Ottawa also organizes mini fundraising events throughout the year, including head shaving and hair donating events with local salons.
This year’s Hair Donation Ottawa takes place on April 17 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Algonquin College Salon & Spa.