Off with Violette O’Donnell’s hair

Moe resident Violette O’Donnell has cut her 30-centimetre-long hair to be made into wigs for cancer survivors.

In an almost opposite approach to the ‘Shave for a Cure’ campaign, the 70 year-old was inspired by her nieces to donate her hair after she learned that they grew, cut and donated their hair in a regular cycle.

“It’s such a nice thing to do for someone else and I don’t need all of that hair,” Ms O’Donnell said.

She said wigs made from real hair were expensive and individuals affected by cancer often had significant medical costs to cover.

“A lot of women with cancer tend to be a bit older and they don’t want coloured hair. They want a grey wig so it looks more natural,” Ms O’Donnell said.

“Most older women keep their hair short which is why naturally grey wigs are so rare and expensive.”

Ms O’Donnell said that she could sell her hair for $90 or more, but she preferred to donate it.

“The main rule for donating your hair is that you have to be under 100 years old and your hair has to be its natural colour,” she said.

“I’m under 100 and I’m going to do it (while) I still can.”

Ms O’Donnell does not tie her hair up or condition it, and she doesn’t colour it even though she had previously.

“My hairdresser Janine has supported me. She didn’t charge me for my hair cut,” Ms O’Donnell said. This is the second time she has grown her hair to the required length of 30cm and donated it.

“The first time I told the wig maker I wanted to donate my hair he was so excited he almost hugged me,” Ms O’Donnell said.

“It shows just how rare it is for someone to give their hair away to someone who might need it.”

Ms O’Donnell said she hoped through her actions she would inspire others to grow and donate their hair as well.

“If every woman donated their hair at least once we could help so many people suffering from cancer and permanent hair loss,” she said.

If you are interested in donating your hair, Violette O’Donnell is happy to share her experience by phoning 5127 4848.

*Heidi Kraak is Monash University journalism student.