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NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

NIMHD Staff Member Donates Hair to Charity for Kids

Laude-Sharp shows off her donation in a salon

NIMHD’s Dr. Maryline Laude-Sharp, with her donation and newly cropped hairdo

Dr. Maryline Laude-Sharp, scientific review officer at NIMHD, usually sports a short-cut hairdo, but that all changed during the pandemic. Like many people, she didn’t want to visit the salon and risk exposure to Covid-19. And so, her mane grew longer than it had in a very long time. By March 2022, her usual ear-length hair was cascading down her back.

Laude-Sharp decided it was time to cut her hair and finally visited a salon. But the strands didn’t just fall to the floor to be swept up and discarded. Instead, she walked out with 11 inches of her hair clasped in a ponytail and neatly tucked into a Ziploc bag. 

A few months ago, encouraged by her children, Laude-Sharp decided to donate her hair to charity. Her two girls had been donating their hair since elementary school, inspired by their school counselor, who was also a regular donor.

Laude-Sharp’s two-toned hair is mainly white, with much darker tresses in the back, so she had to find an organization that accepted gray hair. After researching the different organizations, she packaged and mailed her hair to Maggie’s Wish 4 Kids of Michigan. Wish 4 Kids is a nonprofit that provides wigs and support services to children ages 3 to 18 who experience hair loss due to cancer treatment, alopecia, trichotillomania, burns and other disorders. 

“I’m very happy that my children encouraged me to donate my hair, because I’m sure this will have a huge impact on a child who really needs it,” said Laude-Sharp. This is my first time donating, but I’m glad I had the opportunity to do so and would like to encourage others.”

She sees hair donation as an act of love that can help people who are struggling with medical complications resulting in hair loss. Laude-Sharp’s advice to anyone who wishes to donate is, “Do your research on organizations that specialize in this mission so you can make an informed decision. Each organization has detailed requirements such as length and the type of hair they accept.”

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