Garry is shown before and after his haircut. His hair is being donated to Wigs for Kids. (Communitas photo: Krista Petrie)

Garry is shown before and after his haircut. His hair is being donated to Wigs for Kids. (Communitas photo: Krista Petrie)

Abbotsford man grows hair for a year and donates it to wigs for kids with cancer

Garry came up with idea after reading about theft of 100 children’s wigs

An Abbotsford man recently donated his hair to an agency that helps kids who are undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

Garry (who didn’t want his surname used) went a year without a haircut so that he could grow his hair long enough to be able to donate it.

He got the idea to donate when he read about a theft at Eva & Co, a wig shop in Vancouver. More than 100 wigs intended for children undergoing chemotherapy treatment were stolen.

The story disturbed Garry, and he wondered what he could do about it. One look in the mirror gave him his answer.

“I decided to grow out my hair and donate it for wigs,” he said, adding that he has relatives who have had cancer, so he knows that it is a difficult time for people.

Krista Petrie, a life skills counsellor with Communitas Supportive Care Society, has known Garry for three years. She said she is not at all surprised that he would go through the trouble of growing out his hair to make a donation.

“Garry is well-respected and loved by his peers. He has such a gentle disposition about him and often has other people’s feelings and needs at the forefront of his thoughts,” she said. “It is a pleasure to be able to work with Garry and get front-row seats to this experience of sacrifice on his part.”

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To make a donation, one’s hair must be at least 10 inches along. Garry’s was close to 15 inches from root to tip.

Petrie met Garry at Ed’s Hairstyling salon in Abbotsford at the end of July for the long-awaited haircut, and she photographed the whole event.

To maximize his donation, Garry chose to go as short as possible. Afterwards, he said the buzz-cut felt good, especially after such a long time with long hair.

“’I’m glad I did it,” he said. “I’ll finally be able to tan my neck!”

But true to his humble nature, Garry doesn’t consider his decision to be anything particularly extraordinary.

“It’s pretty easy to grow out your hair,” he said, adding that he’d encourage others to consider doing the same. “Just do it. It’ll make you feel good and it’s for a great cause.”

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