Many women and children across northern Vietnam have chopped off their long locks of hair as part of a program to encourage pediatric patients having lost their hair while battling against cancer.
The program, named Tram Toc Uoc Mo (Dream Hair Station), was held by the Network for Child Cancer Patients for the first time in October last year and was conducted again on Sunday.
To date, nearly 3,100 women and children have donated their hair and over 150 newly-made hair pieces have been presented to child patients who had lost their hair after undergoing chemotherapy at the National Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion and the Vietnam National Children's Hospital, both in Hanoi.
Nguyen Chi Nhat Anh, a nine-year-old who donated her hair, is one of the many children who showed up to support Tram Toc Uoc Mo.
“I want to help child cancer patients who lost their hair have new hair. I love them a lot,” Nhat Anh said.
|Donated sets of hair are exchanged for smiles. Photo: Nguyen Hien / Tuoi Tre
Thirteen-year-old Nguyen Khanh Ngoc from Bac Ninh Province also participated in the Tram Toc Uoc Mo program, but for Ngoc, it was a particularly emotional event.
Ngoc was first diagnosed with cancer when she was just 18 months old. Though she received treatment at the Vietnam National Children’s Hospital, her cancer returned several years later in 2016.
She beat cancer for the second time, but during her battle she lost her hair.
Now, years later, she felt honored to have an opportunity to donate her now-regrown hair to those fighting the same battle she overcame.
Another hair donor at the event was Pham Thuy Ngan, a 24-year-old resident of Hoai Duc District in Hanoi.
“I hadn’t cut my hair for nearly two years. I was sad to donate my hair because it carried so many memories, but the 40 centimeters they cut will help a child in need,” Thuy said.
The patients who received newly-made hairpieces were brimming with happiness and confidence.
|Nguyen Chi Nhat Anh, 9, is confident with her short hair after donating part of her hair. Photo: Nguyen Hien / Tuoi Tre
Pham Van Anh, a child cancer patient at the National Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion, immediately brightened up the moment she saw herself wearing a new hairpiece.
Anh was diagnosed with leukemia on August 23, 2022.
“I knew I was diagnosed with cancer and would have to undergo chemotherapy. At the beginning, I was sad because I lost my hair," Anh said.
“Other [patients] are the same age as me and were able to [handle the treatment], so I will try to handle it so that I can eventually go back to school and be with my family,” Anh said.
“I’m happy to have new hair. I feel more confident and brave. I am inspired to fight this disease.”
|The hair of Nguyen Khanh Ngoc, 13, from northern Bac Ninh Province, before and after the donation. Photo: Nguyen Hien / Tuoi Tre
According to Hoang Dieu Thuan, founder of the Network for Child Cancer Patients, giving hairpieces to pediatric cancer patients can help them to feel confident enough to return to school before their hair grows back.
“We are happy to receive gratitude and smiles. I want to tell [each child] that their hair will grow back,” Thuan said.
|Child cancer patients also paint pictures and make bracelets and necklaces at the hair donation event. Photo: Nguyen Hien / Tuoi Tre
|Hundreds of sets of hair are donated. Photo: Nguyen Hien / Tuoi Tre