Dubai: Three Dubai expatriate boys are keeping a long hair so that one day it can be used to make wigs for cancer patients who often lose their hair due to radiation therapy.
Gabriel Alphonsus, a third-year student at Manipal University Dubai, is one who is not shy to grow his hair so that he can donate it for a deserving cancer patient.
“Around three years ago, I finished High school. This meant that I could finally grow my hair long. I had the freedom to do it. Why I like to grow my hair? Well, to be honest, having long hair is not just a girl’s thing. Boys sometimes like to grow their hair too. In school, I was never allowed to keep long hair. So once I was out, I kept my mane long.”
‘Part of my identity’
Gabriel said he is most often referred to as “Gabe, The guy with a man bun” or “The guy from stage!”
“I love the stage and my hair was part of my identity. Being in university, not many knew my name, but everyone knew ‘the guy with the man bun’. I loved it! My hair was a conversation starter wherever I went and the attention I received was astounding!”
He further said: “Whatever said and done, I knew my hair must go to someone who needs it more than I do. I had my fun, I loved very moment, but it was time to move on and that’s when my search for a charity foundation to donate my hair led me to Premi Mathews, the founder of Hair for Hope India.
Gabriel said: “I knew after speaking to her that I wanted to donate my hair to deserving cancer patients with severe hair loss. Knowing that my hair would be used for a wig that a cancer patient will use felt truly amazing. It is the least I can do for our community.”
‘Huge part of my life’
He has been growing his hair for the past two years, combing, brushing, conditioning. “I have styled it in 100 different ways and now I am ready to let my locks go,” he said in an interview with Gulf News. “The emotional attachment with my hair is very strong. It took me five months to convince myself to let go off my hair and am finally ready.
“As hard as it is to say goodbye to something that has been a huge part of my life for the past two years, but knowing that someone is going to cherish my donation as much as I did, warms my heart.”
Gabriel added he was waiting for October to donate his hair — a month dedicated to Breast Cancer awareness.
‘It’s all about determination’
Another six-year-old Mahadev too has been growing his hair for more than a year now and his mane is long enough to donate up to 12 inches of hair. His mother Anupama, a school teacher, had set an example by going bald three years ago after a trip to the regional cancer Centre in Thiruvananthapuram. “I had knee-length hair and it was enough for two wigs since it was very thick too. I wanted my child to learn early to share, help and be part of an awareness campaign. I believe what he is doing now will make him a well-rounded personality and complete him as a person.”
Anupama further said: “It’s all about determination, building values in children because it takes a lot of determination to grow hair in this summer heat and donate when so many women tend to keep it short. Not just this, my son was ragged in school by his friends for keeping his hair long, but we stuck to our goal,” said Anupama.
Values of care
Four year-old boy Arhaam is equally inspired — thanks to his parents who want to do the same and instil values of care early on. Little Arhaam has not had a hair-cut since he was a year old. And he is getting ready to let go of his mane for a good cause.
Of course, the idea for him to do this was that of his parents — Ikram and Roohina. “My friend was going through cancer and it pained me to see her lose her hair. I thought the least I could do was to grow my son’s hair for a wig. It is our family way of associating ourselves for a good cause,” said Roohina.
As schools reopened and children were busy at the salon for a close haircut, these children are setting an example with their mane and raising awareness for cancer.