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Eleven female teachers at The International Indian School have chopped off 12 inches of their hair, to be given to the student who is battling leukaemia. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: A group of 15 teachers in Abu Dhabi donated their hair last Thursday to support a young cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy.

The International Indian School teachers undertook the selfless gesture, in collaboration with the Hair for Hope movement, to inspire and empower a ten-year-old student at their institution. The patient’s name has been withheld to protect her privacy.

Hair donation ceremony

Gathering at the school, the 11 female teachers chopped off 12 inches of their hair, while four male educators shaved their heads. The donated hair will be fashioned into wigs, and these will be given to the student who is battling leukaemia.

“Losing hair is the most traumatic part of chemotherapy and cancer treatment because hair is an integral part of a person’s personality. The teachers have set a noble example not just for their students, but also others around the world,” said Premi Mathew, founder and chief executive officer of Hair for Hope, a hair donation movement in India and UAE that supports cancer patients. Mathew is herself a cancer survivor.

Act of sacrifice

Shanty Joshy, secondary supervisor at the Indian curriculum school, was one of the teachers in the capital who chopped off her tresses. “The young girl was diagnosed last month and she was so upset to learn that she would lose her hair during chemotherapy. She loves hair and we all wanted to show her that we are accompanying her on this journey,” Joshy told Gulf News. “This was an act of sacrifice, and we believe that sacrifice and prayer will help her heal,” she added.

Jithesh Pradeep, physical education teacher at the school, was one of the educators who saved his head. “I came to know her as one of my students, but never knew that she was battling cancer. Like all other cancer patients, she deserves to see many more sunrises and I hope our gesture will give her confidence and strength,” he said.

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Four male teachers at the school have shaved off their heads to help their cancer warrior student. Image Credit: Supplied

Best gift

Pradeep added that he hopes the wigs will also give the young patient more confidence during her recovery period.

“Hairfall can be traumatic for the patient even during recovery and I hope the donated hair will help her face society as she recovers,” he added.

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Mathew said it was heartwarming to see teachers stand up for their student. “The hope is that this will empower the young cancer warrior and also inspire others to support cancer patients. A wig is one of the best gifts you can give a cancer patient and in this case, the teachers know exactly whom they are supporting with their donation,” she said.

Premi added that anyone in the UAE can donate their hair to Hair for Hope by following the programme’s instructions. “In the UAE, donated hair goes to the Friends of Cancer Patients support society,” she added.