Wigs for Kids
Helping children look themselves
and live their lives
Over 2 million children are affected by hair loss
Wigs for Kids Stories
In 1992 Carlo Turavani, a hair stylist by trade, began working with children and adults going through cancer treatment. A childhood friend who had died from cancer made Carlo promise to help others like he had helped her.
He promised he would, but at the time had no idea what he could possibly do. He did his homework and learned what cancer treatment does to people. Gathering wigs for patients who lost their hair seemed like a good way to help them feel better. When he found that suitable wigs were often not easy to find, especially for children, Carlo reached out.
A fellow hairdresser, Jeffrey Paul, told him a similar story about his niece, a 15 year old gymnast being treated for leukemia. Although chemotherapy saved her life, it would leave her with no hair. Jeffery promised her she would have hair for her dream of making the gymnastics team.
Jeffrey did some research and learned that designing children’s wigs is complicated because kids are smaller and more active than adults. He worked with doctors and prosthetics specialists to design a hairpiece that would withstand typical kid activities, such as swimming, gymnastics, and sleepovers. They came up with a wig that adhered to the scalp under the most aggressive conditions. And if it got wet, it would look like everybody else’s hair, because every strand of hair was hand-tied.
Jeffrey quickly became Carlo’s friend and mentor ….
By 1997, Carlo had established the Canadian chapter of Wigs for Kids, which provides wigs made of human hair to children with hair loss due to chemotherapy and radiation treatments, alopecia, trichotillomania, burns and other medical reasons. Wigs for Kids has helped more than 400 children in Canada.
Hair for the wigs is donated, often by children, who will have their long hair cut for the program.
The donated hair is sorted by texture, then dyed to a consistent colour to match the patient’s. After that, it is hand-woven into a wig.
Fifteen to 28 ponytails are needed to produce a single wig, which costs up to $1,800 to produce. It can take 30 to 40 hours to finish a single wig, which is given to the child for free.
The illness is bad enough, but the treatment can often be as difficult as coping with the disease. If children can find some comfort in their own appearance, if the stress of the outward physical impact of treatment can be blunted, they feel better about themselves and recover faster.
Carlo had no idea that a promise to a dying friend would take him on such a wonderful, fulfilling adventure.
When Jessica was 12 years old, she became sick and lost her hair. Carlo and Wigs for Kids provided her with a beautiful handmade wig.
Now here she is years later at Transitions Studio, helping another child.
“Thank you guys so much! It felt really amazing to donate my hair to this amazing charity.”
Alopecia has been a life changing event for me, as it would be for anyone. I went from having that perfect flowy blonde hair that every little girl wants to not having any hair at all. This happened when I was just a little girl. After years of trying to stay strong while enduring stares and rude comments, I found Wigs for Kids, a program that changed my life forever. For the past 7 years they have provided me with a wig and given me back the ability to believe in myself, to fit in, to feel accepted and to feel beautiful. I can never thank Carlo and Wigs for Kids enough for giving me the gift of confidence so I can be all that I am meant to be.
My name is Aleesha and I am currently 15 years old. I have alopecia universalis. My hair started falling out when I was about 8 months old. I’ve never really known what it’s like to have hair. My mom researched wigs when I was school age and came across the Wigs for Kids foundation. I got my first wig from Carlo in St Catharines, Ontario when I was around 5 years old. We travelled ten hours from Timmins, Ontario to pick it up and meet Carlo for the first time. It was an experience I will never forget. He made us feel welcome and at ease during the entire process. I continue to get my wigs from Wigs for Kids and am forever thankful for all their help. It boosts my confidence and self-esteem. I even get to do my hair with my friends! Wigs for Kids is an important part of my everyday life and I am so grateful to have them and Carlo as part of it.
to help change a child’s life
A monetary donation of any amount
will help Wigs for Kids
continue their daily operations.
Are you in need of a Hair Replacement System?
Wigs for Kids is here to help you.
Wigs for Kids can create Hair Replacement Systems at no cost for children who are:
• 18 years of age or younger.
• Experiencing hair loss as a result of chemotherapy, radiation therapy,
Alopecia, Trichotillomania, burns and other medical reasons.
• Referred by a medical professional.
To be eligible for a Hair Replacement System, children must come from families who otherwise could not afford one.
How to Apply for a Hair Replacement System
An application form must be filled out for each child and sent to Wigs for Kids for review and acceptance. For applicants who are hospitalized or cannot travel because of medical reasons, please have your social workers contact us and we will work with them to process your application.
You will need to submit proof of age, a medical prescription or letter from your practitioner and your insurance information. Before sending in the application, please ensure that all information is completed and that all of the documents are enclosed. Otherwise, the application will not be approved.
When Wigs for Kids has received all your measurements and additional forms, your case will be sent to Order Processing, where a wigs made from real hair will be designed for you and sent to the manufacturers for making.
Once we have received your hairpiece, your child will need to make an appointment for the final cutting and fitting at our hair replacement centre.
Donate Hair to Change Lives
Wigs for Kids is a private, non-profit organization relying solely on donations to make durable, custom hairpieces that look just as a child’s natural hair would. If you are looking for a place to donate hair, Wigs for Kids will be happy to use your ponytail in order to create a hair replacement system.
Through caring companies, foundations, groups and individuals like you, we can continue to provide complimentary hair replacement systems to children who would otherwise not be able to afford them. It costs approximately $1,800 to complete one hair replacement. To help offset the costs of production and processing, a monetary donation is appreciated with your ponytail, or you may want to consider collecting pledges from family and friends when you donate hair.
Please download the hair donation form below before you donate hair or funds. Print, fill out and mail the form along with your hair donation. Page 2 contains the instructions to give to your stylist.
A confirmation of your donation will be sent via e-mail.
Wigs for Kids
244 Grantham Avenue
St. Catharines, Ontario L2M 4Z4