Notre Dame student donates her hair to a good cause

20 April 2021

First-year Nursing student Chana Gershowitz has chopped her long locks and donated her hair to Sustainable Salons, a social enterprise dedicated to reducing salon waste and collecting ponytails for organisations such as Variety and the Australian Alopecia Areata Foundation to make wigs for people with cancer or alopecia.

Chana had always thought about donating her hair; an idea that stemmed from her interest in sustainability but also her experience meeting children who had lost their hair due to cancer treatment. Each year an estimated 4000 ponytails are needed to make enough wigs for those suffering from cancer or alopecia, and yet so many of us don’t think twice about how our next haircut could help.

When a friend of Chana’s passed away after a long battle with cancer, it cemented her resolve to grow out her hair and give it away. “I met Inbal in Perth a few years ago when I was running a summer camp that her son attended. Speaking with her, I could see immediately that she was a beautiful person inside and out. She was ill for a long time but I never once heard her complain. After she passed I knew I wanted to do something in her memory, so I finally got my hair cut and donated by Paloma Rose Garcia at Paloma Salon, which is a member of Sustainable Salons,” says Chana.

“Sustainable Salons has collected more than 90,000 ponytails to make wigs for people with cancer and alopecia, so it was nice to be able to support a great cause, while honouring someone I’ve lost,” she adds.

The organisation also collects hair waste from the salon floor to make ‘hair booms’ that can help clean up oil spills along our coastlines.

“I feel so lucky to be healthy, to have hair and be able to give it to those who are less fortunate. Anyone can become ill and face medically-induced hair loss, which can have a real impact on self-confidence. It makes me happy knowing that I can make someone feel better and I can’t wait to do it again,” says Chana. “It’s something I recommend to everyone: go to a salon that donates your hair. Even if your hair isn’t long enough to be made into a wig, going to a sustainable salon can mean your hair is diverted from landfill and towards a positive environmental project. It’s a great cause but an even greater feeling to be able to help.”

Chana Gershowitz is Academic and Welfare Director on the Student Association Notre Dame Sydney (SAUNDA). For further information, please contact: Nancy Merlo +61 2 8204 4044 | +61 415 517 589 |

Media Contact: Breyon Gibbs : +61 8 9433 0569 |