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Big-hearted members of the Lions Club of Riffa (LCOR) along with women and children from across the kingdom are cutting their locks for a caring cause, writes Mai Al Khatib-Camille.
The Crown of Care project, spearheaded by Anjali Gupta, the secretary in the LCOR board, aim to collect 1,000 inches of hair to be donated to the Little Princess Trust. The charity supplies real-hair wigs to boys and girls in the UK and Ireland suffering from cancer and other conditions resulting in hair loss, such as alopecia. The LCOR campaign started in December last year and will run until February 4, which is World Cancer Day. All hair is to be sent in time for that day.
Anjali, a mother-of-two, who donated seven inches of her own hair, said: “I believe a campaign like this is very important for two reasons - it brings awareness within the society about the sufferings of cancer patients and it provides an opportunity for the society to make their contribution towards a cause and demonstrate their care and love.
“It helps people in Bahrain know how and where to make their individual contributions even after our campaign is done too.
Anyone can participate in the initiative. The minimum length of hair required for donation is seven inches; however, the greatest need is for 16 inches or longer hair lengths. Hair must be clean, dry, no split ends and of any natural colour.
The project started with Beauty Spot Salon & Spa as it initially began sending hair to the Trust. The Little Princess Trust was launched in 2006 by the parents of Hannah Tarplee, who died in 2005 after struggling against Wilms tumour, or nephroblastoma, a cancer of the kidneys that typically occurs in children.
Cancer treatment often causes patients to suffer hair loss which can have devastating psychological effects at a time when all efforts need to be concentrated on fighting the disease.
“Now many other salons such as Monalisa Beauty Salon and Joz Salon have joined and are supporting our campaign,” added Anjali. “All these salons are providing free haircuts to donors. We are really grateful for their support for this noble cause.
“What we hope to achieve from this is a smile on the face of a little one somewhere in the world.”
Other members of LCOR, such as Dr Hala Jamal and Dolly Rosh Paulose, have also made donations.
Dr Hala, a businesswoman, social activist and a vice-president of the Individual Social Responsibility Society (ISRS), has been with LCOR for two years. She said: “I feel it’s part of our social responsibility to help people who are suffering from any type of cancer, in particular the ones that undergo chemical treatment – whether they are children or adults. I hope this raises more awareness and encourages other women to donate. The ISRS also participates with the Lions Ladies in doing whatever we can to encourage others and to serve the community.”
Dolly, a teacher, joined the Club around a year ago and her husband, Rosh, a finance manager, is a long-time member. Dolly donated around nine-inches of hair and said if she had more to give she would. “I wanted to give back to the children and young adults suffering from cancer and its treatment,” explained Dolly. “When Anjali started the campaign I was more than happy to take part in it. I feel lucky to be a part of this campaign. I hope this encourages other people too to participate. I have two girls at home and wanted to lead by example and show the importance of supporting different societies and causes.”
This is not the first initiative that LCOR has conducted. The not-for-profit organisation has been dedicated to serving the community in Bahrain since 1995 through charitable activities geared towards social causes.
It is a part of the international movement of Lionism, which started its first community service club in 1917 and has since grown to 47,000 clubs enrolling 1.4 million members across 200 plus countries and has earned recognition from the United Nations.
“We provide help to the neediest sections of society,” explained Anjali. “We work on projects to improve our communities and protect the environment. We also participate in other health programmes and projects.
“Some of our flagship programmes are blood donation camps, medical camps, Ramadan donations every year to the Red Crescent Society for distribution to the needy people in Bahrain, a visit to Geriatric Ward twice in a year, beach cleaning and essay and painting competitions for children at all schools in Bahrain.” The LCOR has more than 40 members from different nationalities.
Those interested in participating and finding out more can click on the link http://bit.ly/CrownofCare. The form will get back to the donor with the details. Donors then will fix the appointment with the salons as per their convenience.
Find out more by visiting Crown of Care on Facebook and Instagram.