Published: 24th April 2019
This 23-year-old from Hyderabad grew foot-long hair to donate for cancer patients. Here's why
Hair for Hope is an organisation that aims to create awareness about hair donation and ensures that the donated hair reaches organisations which are not only registered, but need it too
If you spot a young chap with long hair, what would you assume? That they fancy themselves the next Jason Momoa or are a part of a college rock band? That's exactly the kind of assumptions Sai Raja was subjected to. But alas, his purpose for growing his hair was beyond a mere style quotient. The 23-year-old, along with eight others, was growing his hair to donate it to those cancer patients who have lost their hair while undergoing chemotherapy. Last month, during Pinkathon, an annual marathon that's India's largest women's run — it was conducted last month in Hyderabad — these nine do-gooders, who had grown their hair up to 12 inches, chopped off their locks. They donated it to Hair For Hope, an organisation that aims to create awareness about hair donation. So, what propelled Raja to do so and what obstacles did he have to face? We got in touch with him to find out.
All for a good cause: The youngsters who donated their hair | (Pic: Sai Raja)
"I, for one, never thought I would grow my hair because not only is my hair curly, but thick too," says Raja who was born in Ludhiana, but has lived in several parts of India like Panipat, Chennai and then finally, returned to his hometown in Andhra Pradesh. It was while he was pursuing Mechanical Engineering from Vignan's Foundation for Science, Technology & Research, Guntur, when he was inspired to take up this noble cause. But of course, it did not go well with his parents or teachers, who made it abundantly clear that his long hair made him look 'shabby and unprofessional'. "My teachers, in fact, told me that I wouldn't be able to crack any campus interviews, but I was selected by four companies. When I joined my father's business, I helped our clients understand the reason behind my long hair," explains Raja, who believes that it was the emotional connect that everyone felt was genuine which convinced them of his good intentions. Raja started growing his hair during the last year of college and finally chopped it off and donated it in March this year.
So would he do it all over again? Maybe! Because, why not?
FAQs about donating hair
To what length does one need to grow their hair?
At least 12 inches because while making a wig, some hair is lost when trying to level and comb the hair
How long does it usually take?
It usually takes two years and five months to grow 12 inches of hair
All that hair: A participant with the donated hair at the Pinkathon | (Pic: Sai Raja)
Raja and Co
These are the Good Samaritans, who along with Raja, donated their hair
Vetcha Aruna Sujatha
Tammineedi Sri Jahnavi