Dubai: A young Muslim woman, who went bald to donate her hair for cancer patients last month, inspired a group of 54 others to donate their flowing locks. Indian national Surumi Shihab had hit the headlines when she gave away her 20 inch-long hair during a donation drive at an Al Ain church.
Last week, 36 women and 18 girls followed in her footsteps and donated their hair for cancer patients in a mass hair donation event held at a Dubai villa. The women, who donated the hair, are members of the Facebook group Malayalee Mums Middle East (MMME), which organised the charity drive.
The Facebook group, which was formed in March 2015, now has more than 20,000 members in the UAE.
The hair were donated as part of an initiative named ‘MMME for Hope’, said Diya Suresh, the group’s founder.
She told Gulf News that some members in the group were inspired after reading about Surumi’s kind act.
“Real-hair wigs can give some relief and happiness to patients who have lost hair while undergoing cancer treatment. Hair donation is something we as fellow women can do to bring a smile on the faces of female cancer patients.”
Another member, Reshma Sainulabdeen, sought advice to donate her hair from Surumi and Premi Mathew, founder of the Hair for Hope Foundation, who had inspired Surumi.
But now I am glad that it has inspired many others to do it. Housewives like me, who may not be able to financially support cancer patients, can make a difference in their lives like this.”
- Surumi Shihab |A resident of Abu Dhabi
“The response we got was amazing. Many mothers and daughters of some members of group came forward to donate their hair,” said Reshma.
To their surprise, a Kyrgyz national, who was also inspired by Surumi, also joined the MMME members hailing from the South Indian state of Kerala.
“It was so nice of Guzail Abu Baker to join us. She donated nine inches of her hair,” said Reshma.
In total 54 women and girls donated their hair ranging from seven to 20 inches of length.
Some hair were curly, some straight. Some were black and some brown. But all were given away for spreading happiness among cancer patients in the Year of Giving. Vani Jayan, Fatima Najwa and Veena Nambiar donated 20 inches of hair each.
Two sets of twins — Merin and Merlin H. Christo and Diya and Daksha Shibu Kumar — were among the other girls who came forward to give away their hair.
The youngest donor was five-year-old Nivedhya Suresh, a student of Al Ameer English School in Ajman. She donated seven inches of her hair.
The coordinators of the group gifted the bunches of hair donated by the members to the Friends of Cancer Patients organisation in Sharjah.
One donor’s hair could not be accepted as it did not meet the minimum length requirement of seven inches, they said.
Speaking to Gulf News, Abu Dhabi resident Surumi said she was amazed at the response she received from various countries.
“I was flooded with messages on social media even from GCC countries. I was also honoured at a community group’s ceremony here. “
She said she had never expected such publicity and recognition for her small act.
“But now I am glad that it has inspired many others to do it. Housewives like me, who may not be able to financially support cancer patients, can make a difference in their lives like this,” said Surumi.