When asked about the significance of this month, many of us would probably not remember important days like Children’s Day, but might instantly say that this is No-Shave November. The concept is gaining momentum with wide-scale promotion. However, only a few of us might know the real reason behind observing this month as a no-shave one.
The concept of observing November as a month where one doesn’t shave is to spread cancer awareness in a
unique manner. During the month-long campaign, the participants refrain from shaving and grooming in order to evoke a conversation regarding the same by explaining the reason to any random person, which will in turn bring up the topic of awareness regarding the various aspects of cancer.
However, in a month when people are growing their beards and moustaches to support cancer patients and bring awareness on the same, 24-year-old Ryma Joy did something extremely different. She recognised the fact that spreading cancer awareness can be done even without growing hair. She realised if she could donate her hair then it would bring a smile to the faces of at least two people who are suffering from the disease and have lost their hair.
Ryma, who was reluctant to speak to the media, says that it was her personal choice to donate her hair.
“People find it to be a great thing because I shaved my head despite this being a no-shave month. But frankly speaking I didn’t have much of an idea about it and only came to know about it when one of my friends asked me if I shaved my head because I wanted to show off and make it look like I think differently,” she added.
But the truth is that Ryma was preparing to donate her hair for the past one year. And she has a reason for choosing November to do such a noble deed. It was her birthday on November 1 and she wanted to do it on her special day. Ryma says that she is not a person who is keen on growing her hair long and always maintained it up to shoulder length only. However, last January when she decided to donate her hair she started growing it.
Explaining what persuaded her into making this decision, she says that it was during her graduation that she came to know about donating hair to cancer patients, when an NGO associated with her college had placed bins in the girl’s hostel to collect hair, which would later be used to prepare wigs for cancer patients. She says that each and every one at the hostel used to put their hair in the bins but the NGO authorities never came back even once after that to collect the hair.
It was then that Ryma felt the mental pain that cancer patients have to go through due to hair fall after chemotherapy. She decided to donate her hair and contacted “Hair for Hope” an NGO and collected more information regarding the same. The authorities gave her the details without any delay.
“The NGO informed me that the hair should be of minimum 15 inches if it had to be donated and I was happy that my hard work paid off because I managed to grow my hair longer than the prescribed length. There was no need for me to go bald and I could have managed by just going for a boy cut. However, I opted for this because I wanted to experience the feeling that cancer patients undergo,” she said.
She says that the people she meets on a daily basis get surprised at her new look. While her acquaintances scold her for taking such an “insensible” decision, strangers have sympathy in their eyes thinking that she is a cancer patient. Ryma, however, is receiving immense support from her family and friends.
Having graduated with a degree in Social Work, Ryma is presently working as a counsellor at an old age home in Ernakulam called House of Providence and is highly moved by the plight of the downtrodden and unprivileged in society. She plans to help them in whatever manner she can, but has a clear vision for that as well.
According to her, donating money will not address their problems and it will only make them conditioned towards getting financial support. She is of the opinion that people who have a mind to help the needy must
find ways and facilitate things that would encourage and persuade them to work for themselves and earn money. In this way they will contribute to society and will not get a feeling that they are not wanted.
In a day and age where youngsters are highly particular about their looks, people like Ryma, who are also part of this clan, dare to think and act out of the box, setting an example for the whole of mankind. People cut down their food in order to achieve a better physique and chop their hair off while trying to experiment with various hairstyles. But has it every occurred to us that what we reject can be extremely useful for another group of people?