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Holding onto Hair: Why I decided to make the cut

Posted at 9:15 AM, Dec 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-13 11:34:07-05

BILLINGS - This past Saturday afternoon found me at the salon.

After years of growing out my long black locks, I decided it was time for a cut.

But my hair didn’t end up in the trash.

This time it’s going to Hair We Share, a non-profit organization that provides wigs to children and adults with medical hair loss across the United States.

“That could be burn victims, physical abuse victims, domestic abuse victims, cancer patients, and most importantly, what people don’t understand is alopecia patients,” said Dean Riskin, co-founder of Hair We Share.

Hair We Share receives anywhere from 50 to 75 hair donations a day.

“It’s beautiful, it’s phenomenal,” Riskin said.

And they come from everywhere.

“Berkley California, Brookline Massachusetts, Flagstaff Arizona, Cohoes New York,” Riskin said as he read through some of the day’s mail.

It may sound like a lot, but it takes six to nine hair donations to make one wig.

Since 2014, Hair We Share has made and given away more than 400 wigs.

“Women lose their hair it’s devastating. It’s devastating, it takes away from their self-esteem. It doesn’t take away from their inner beauty, their inner beauty is always going to be there, but they don’t feel that beauty unless they have their hair,” Riskin said.

Receiving roughly 20-thousand hair donations a year, each one comes with a story.

“I get letters every single day, telling the story behind the people’s hair, why they’re doing it,” Riskin said.

My reason for donating is my good friend and Q2 family member Melanie Connole, who directed many of our newscasts at Q2 over the past 21 years.

She lost her battle to cancer in October.

Fighting my way through the grieving process, I decided to donate my hair in honor of her.

Melanie’s long locks were always something to admire.

She always showed up to work with her hair done to perfection, so giving mine up for someone going through their own battle was the least I can do.

This is my hair story, and why I’m trading in long for short.

Melanie was a fighter to the very end and showed strength and bravery throughout her battle.

Just like the memories she left me with when my hair reaches its recipient, it will be priceless.

Hair We Share receives a lot of hair donations, but they are always in need of monetary donations to create the wigs.

Riskin said because of delays caused by the pandemic, they currently have 65,000 unsponsored hair donations.

Hair donors have the option to donate or fundraise with their hair donation to cover the costs.

You can visit their website to learn more.