Bijou Speirs had one of the most meaningful haircuts of her life last week.
The Ecolé Victor-Brodeur student cut 12 inches of her long, thick black hair off to donate to Angel Hair for Kids, a program that helps provide wigs to children between four and 19 years of age who are dealing with hair loss for various reasons such as Alopecia and cancer.
The 12-year-old has been growing her hair for the last five years in anticipation of cutting it off for a good cause.
“At first I really liked long hair and I just wanted to grow it, but then I read books about kids getting Alopecia and cancer and I decided ‘hey, I have so much,’ and it would be so much better for my swimming, so I decided to donate it,” she said.
Speirs was the first client to have her hair cut and donated at Capilia, a new business in Victoria that specializes in hair loss.
“These wigs are going to families who really can’t afford to purchase a human hair wig,” said Catherine Hanson, co-owner of Capilia, who will mail Speirs’ hair to the program in Mississauga where the wigs are made.
“The difference in their self-esteem when they walk out the door [with a new wig] is absolutely incredible. It’s all about their self-esteem and making them feel good and feel better.”
For co-owner Leanna Eastgate, who also sells wigs at a boutique at the B.C. Cancer Agency, the cause is close to her heart.
“What really got me into this at the beginning was my own hair loss, the emotional part of it. I was 20 years old when I lost my hair,” said Eastgate, who was told she had Alopecia areata and lost her hair within a matter of weeks. “We wanted to have a centre where we could help everybody.”
And helping people deal with hair loss is what they’re doing.
Capilia helps people (predominantly women) find wigs, unique hair pieces, hair loss solutions, skin care products for people going through cancer treatments — and of course, cuts hair (you need at least 12 inches of hair) to donate to Angel Hair for Kids.
“I’ve never cut it this short before, I’ve always had long hair, so this is something new,” said Speirs. “I feel good, I did something good and my hair feels lighter.”
Hanson hopes Speirs’ donation will encourage others to do the same.
“I just hope that we see more children like Bijou coming in or adults,” said Hanson. “Anyone coming in that has the same courage as Bijou to grow her hair and then cut it off and make a donation is huge.”