When undergoing treatment, the effects of hair loss can have a long and difficult impact on those living with cancer.
Cancer Hair Care is the only UK charity solely dedicated to offering guidance before, during and after hair loss due to cancer treatment. It is also the only charity to offer clinics within NHS hospitals and they offer support to women and men of all ages, hair types and ethnicities.
Jasmin Julia Gupta is the founder of the charity and is the UK’s leading authority in oncology-related hair loss and hair care.
We caught up with Jasmin to find out how the work of this incredible charity continues to support those who need it most.
Tell us about your organisation:
Along with a group of deeply inspiring women and the dedication of amazing friends, family and supporters, I founded Cancer Hair Care in Hertfordshire in 2011.
As the UK’s leading hair loss support charity, we understand that subjects such as scalp cooling, new hair growth, wigs and headscarves can all seem a mystery. Our expert and caring advice and emotional support will help you to feel confident through your illness and into recovery.
What services do you offer people living with cancer?
Our services are all free-of-charge and span the entire hair loss journey – from hair loss prevention (scalp cooling) right through to new hair growth into recovery.
We offer expert guidance from our Hair Loss Specialists, NHS Clinical Specialists and Advisors and we have an information-packed website. We are also the only UK charity with clinics at 50 NHS hospitals.
Our bespoke Hair Loss Support Packs can be sent to hospital or home and include items such as Hair Loss Dollies, which help children to gently understand hair loss during cancer treatment through play.
Do you have a target demographic who use your services?
Since launching, our services have supported thousands of people of all ages, hair types and ethnicities throughout their cancer treatment-related hair loss – from children and young people to women and men – we are here to support everyone. We are headquartered in Hertfordshire and are a registered charity in England and Wales.
How are you funded?
We are a registered charity (Cancer Hair Care/ Caring Hair) and are primarily funded through fundraising, JustGiving campaigns and grants. We are always looking for fundraisers, so do please get in touch if you’d like to support us!
How have things changed for you since COVID-19?
We launched a new, free service called Hair Loss Help at Home, which provided hundreds of Hair Loss Support Packs to those who were unable to access the charity’s services in person due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Our Cancer Hair Care Specialists were on hand to offer free consultations via telephone or email and each person was sent a bespoke pack of hair loss items tailored to their specific needs, which could include items such as a wig, a headscarf, a hair loss dolly or false eyelashes.
This has now finished, as we emerge from the latest lockdown, and we are hopeful that we can return to our in-hospital NHS clinics soon.
What’s the most rewarding thing about the work you do?
We have hundreds, if not thousands, of rewarding moments.
We’ve seen the happiness on a child’s face when they receive a specially-made baseball cap featuring their favourite football team. There’s also a grateful Mummy who has used our Hair Loss Dolly to gently help her son understand that she will soon be hair-free as well as a teenager who now has headwear that perfectly matches her school uniform.
If I had to distill it, Cancer Hair Care can empower you when you feel powerless.
What would you say to those who are considering getting in touch with you but are nervous or apprehensive?
We understand, we care and we are here for you.
Possible hair loss has a devastating effect on someone who has cancer. Cancer Hair Care cuts through the noise to offer you gentle, expert advice that enables all of our patients to understand their potential hair loss fully.
We care deeply about every person’s experience of hair loss and hope that Cancer Hair Care is one small way of helping people through illness and into recovery.
Do you have testimonials from people that have used your services?
Julie, on experiencing our charity’s services in-person: “I felt really great after my first visit to the charity. They really listened to me and I walked away with a bag full of goodies and lots of expert, kind advice. To have a charity that was so compassionate, understanding and informed about all aspects of hair loss was incredibly special.”
Sabrina, 18, on using our Teenage Service: “I was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma in early December 2020 and started treatment on Christmas Eve. It all happened so quickly that and I didn’t have time to think about hair loss but the Support Pack had everything I would need to get me through my hair loss and on to recovery.”
Mikail’s Mum (Cancer Hair Care supplied his mum with a number of consultations, as well as a bespoke Arsenal cap for Mikail with a hand-made comfort cosy liner):
“We received Mikail’s amazing Hair Loss Support Pack today from Cancer Hair Care. Everything fits him perfectly and he particularly loved his Arsenal cap. Thank you so much for putting a smile on my son’s face.”
Emma, a Teenage Cancer Trust Youth Support Coordinator at Great North Children’s Hospital who explains how our service supports young people: “I share your Support Packs with anyone I feel is needing support around hair loss, as well as letting them know they can contact the CHC team for guidance. Hair loss really matters to young people and it’s great that you provide a service that really takes them into consideration.”
Who works for you?
Our dedicated team of Hair Loss Specialists and Advisors combines those who have experienced hair loss and cancer treatment with oncology hair loss experts, so we deeply understand the best way to support people going through cancer, illness and hair loss.
Cancer Hair Care’s specialists have completed the UK’s most comprehensive chemotherapy and cancer-related hair loss and hair care training. We are the only organisation to cover every element of the hair loss and regrowth journey in such depth.
What are the values of your organisation?
Our motto is ‘Together, we can make hair loss one less worry’ and we empathetically approach each person as an individual, offering a huge range of support for the various emotional and physical aspects of hair loss and illness.
And finally, can you describe your organisation in 3 words?
Inclusive, understanding and caring.
For more information, please visit our website or email firstname.lastname@example.org