Recently, I had the chance to sit down and chat with Roslyn Yearwood, founder and executive director of Angel Hair For Kids.
What is Angel Hair For Kids?
We provide hair solutions for children who have lost their hair due to any medical conditions – it could be cancer, it could be burns, it could be alopecia – anything that causes a child to lose their hair. When I say hair solutions it’s not only a wig, sometimes it’s hair prosthesis as well, somebody may need a partial wig.
How did Nisim and Angel Hair For Kids join partnership?
About five years ago we were looking for people to sponsor our Angel Hair For Kids. We put a callout to different hair salons and people in the industry. We had a little meeting. And Tom (Nisim’s CEO) showed up. He’s been a supporter ever since.
There are about 60 salons across Canada that have the Angel Hair Salon Partner Program.
Right, we launched the hair salon program where hair salons will advertise for us and raise public awareness. They know ahead of time if someone is going in to donate their hair. People are very particular as to how they have their hair cut. Our criteria is 12 inches of hair because all of our wigs are long.
What are some of the other requirements that you would need in order to donate your hair?
Not dyed or chemically processed. We do take a percentage of grey hair because sometimes we have specialty pieces that are made and we can take grey hair and dye it. But 95% of the hair that we do get is virgin hair.
What makes our wigs different is that we design the caps – especially for children – it has to be a certain circumference and we’re always updating the material inside. Every child who receives a wig gets it specially styled for them – bangs or no bangs, etc. All of our kids get instructions on how to take care of the hair. We look after them up until the age of 19 if there’s a problem.
The hair donors – do they mentally prepare to cut their hair or do they do it on a whim?
It’s interesting, you get the ones who say, “I’m going to cut my hair, I’m tired of it.” But then you get ones who say, “I’ve been thinking for at least a year now if I want to cut it.” It just goes to show how important hair is to some people. So when you have a child who doesn’t have any hair, it’s very difficult for them. Men are the funniest. There are a lot of men who donate their hair and they are just ready to cut it off. A lot of them are going through career changes, we’ve had police officers, we’ve had bikers too. We’ve gotten hair from 43 different countries. It takes 10-12 donors to create a wig.
How does the wig help to positively impact the children?
It’s so hard to express. Not only do we help the children, but we also help the parents. I remember there was one mother in particular who cried when her daughter received her wig. We take the burden off of the parents since we provide the wigs for free.