Inspired to act after their grandfather fell ill, twin sisters Claire and Hannah made an enormous personal contribution to charity when they were just six years old. Now 14, the girls continue to give back in their community. This is their Giving Story.
We first donated our hair when we were six years old. Our grandfather had gone through difficult chemotherapy treatments earlier that year which caused him to lose all of his hair. We were upset to see him so sick, and felt very helpless.
We learned a lot about cancer that year and we learned that some children also lose their hair when they go through cancer treatment. We’d heard that it was very hard on children – especially girls – and we thought about what it would be like if we did not have hair. We also knew a boy from school with Alopecia, which is a condition that causes kids to lose their hair. This made it very real for us too.
Both of us had very long hair at the time (to the bottom of our backs), and our Mom suggested donating our hair to someone who needed it. Even though we were a bit nervous about cutting our hair, we were inspired to help. And afterwards, we were so proud of ourselves.
The week following our haircuts, we went with our mom to take our 12 inch ponytails to Angel Hair for Kids. We got to see the room where the wigs are made and learned they need five or six ponytails of the same shade to make one wig for a child. We also got to see pictures of children on the walls who had benefited from the wigs, and we truly understood the magnitude of our contributions.
Three years later in 2009, we had again seen our Grandpa Al go through cancer treatments. Our hair had grown 12 inches and was long enough to donate again. This time, we were joined by our six year old sister, Ashley, and our friends, Abby, Hannah, and Isabella. This time was even better because we got to share the experience, and donate six ponytails instead of just two – enough to make a whole wig for a child!
We learned many things from our first giving experience. We learned that you are never too young or too small to find ways to give. We learned that we wanted to be giving people in life and find ways to help others. And most importantly, we learned good acts and giving lead to more good acts and giving. After the articles in our local paper and the many positive conversations we had at school, we know we inspired others to give too.
We’d like to donate our hair again in the future. Until then, we’ve also started another giving tradition with our family by supporting a shelter for boys in our town. Together, we purchase bags of hats, mitts and socks to donate to the shelter, and groceries like lots of milk, bread, pasta etc. Doing this as a family feels really great!
Hannah and Claire donated their hair to Angel Hair for Kids, a part of A Child’s Voice Foundation. Learn more about them on their charity profile page >>>