Weaving Hope: Meet Aadya Sulochana who creates 'Seeds of Hope' for cancer patients

A group of teenagers in Dakshina Kannada is on a mission to lift the spirit of cancer patients by donating wigs

Published: 04th September 2022 03:45 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th September 2022 03:45 AM   |  A+A-

Volunteers at a Seeds of Hope camp in Mangaluru. 

Volunteers at a Seeds of Hope camp in Mangaluru. 

Express News Service

MANGALURU: For cancer patients, it is a battle each day. From attending chemotherapy sessions to taking the required medicines, their travails — apart from the pain — are many.

Here is a group that is striving to bring smiles to the faces of cancer patients. Meet 17-year-old Aadya Sulochana, a PU II student, who always wanted to do something for cancer patients. Her dance mate and a teacher had succumbed to the deadly disease in quick succession and the loss had a profound impact on her.

In 2020, when the country was under Covid-induced lockdown, Aadya from Puttur in Dakshina Kannada district realised that hair donation could be useful to cancer patients as they suffer from hair loss due to chemotherapy.

It was then that the girl, who always sported short hair, decided to grow it long and donated it to the cause. Inspired by her, many of her friends wanted to follow in her footsteps. Nine of them, both boys and girls, came together to set up ‘Seeds of Hope’, a charity initiative to help cancer patients, primarily by donating hair that could be crafted into wigs.

It is interesting to know how the youngsters set up a charity organisation when they could have donated their hair to any organisation as Aadhya did.

“Initially, I thought of referring my friends to the organisation where I donated my hair. But I was not sure whether that organisation was genuine or not as it had not communicated with me after the donation. This made me a little suspicious and we decided to have our own organisation to ensure that donations reach the right people,” explains Aadya.

Once started, there was no looking back. Over the last two years, this bunch of enthusiastic and highly-motivated teenagers has conducted hair donation camps with the support of organisations like Rotary and Lions where many girls and women, irrespective of their age, have come forward to donate their hair. Also, with the help of the Muliya Foundation, they have set up a hair bank in Puttur where the donors can send their hair through courier.

So far, they have collected hair from over 300 persons and donated wigs to 15 needy patients without charging a paisa. Women from all age groups and from outside Karnataka and even abroad have donated their hair.

“Among the donors so far, the youngest was a Class 3 student and the eldest a 73-year-old woman. We even got a donor from California who is my cousin’s colleague,” adds Aadya.

Most of the donors contact Muliya Foundation and then, a member of Seeds of Hope will contact prospective donors and guide them on trimming the hair and sending it across. The donors will get an e-certificate in appreciation of their donation.

The organisation accepts hair that is 15 inches or longer. The collected hair is segregated depending on length, type and texture. When a cancer patient approaches them for a wig, they will first find out what kind of hair suits them and design the wigs accordingly. The hair is sent to a wig manufacturer in Tamil Nadu and then donated to the recipient.

The wig maker charges Rs 8,000 per wig and the hair used to craft a wig costs another Rs 8,000 in the open market. To meet the cost of crafting wigs and other expenses, Seeds of Hope and Muliya Foundation raise funds from the public.

Dr Jyothi Rai, a Kannada lecturer at Alva’s College and a cancer patient, who got a wig from Seeds of Hope, says the idea conceptualised by Aadya and others is beyond their age. “I can’t imagine that these small girls and boys are doing such great work. It is a big gift to cancer patients as it helps them get over severe mental trauma,” she added.

Dr Rai came to know about Seeds of Hope after the daughter of one of her colleagues donated her hair for the cause. “Then I contacted Aadya. Initially, I thought that she was a big woman and was addressing her as madam. Later when I came to know that she is a teenager, I was astonished by her maturity and thinking,” she says.

“My wig was so natural and beautiful that my friends and colleagues told me that it doesn’t look like a wig and I have got back  my earlier look. I wore it for a year till my hair grew back. My donors included a playback singer and I got a letter from them wishing me a quick recovery. I also called them over the phone to thank them,” adds Dr Rai.

TEAM MEMBERS
Seeds of Hope consists of Aadya Sulochana (centre), Kanya Shetty, Ishaa Sulochana, Koushal Subramanya, Akshya Parvathi, Varsha K Bhat, Samartha Rama, Hitha Kaje, and Neha Bhat. For more details,  Dial 7483303897 / 9632567916

Hair donation camp

Seeds of Hope has organised its next hair donation camp from 10 am onwards on September 11 at Shakthi Residential PU College in Mangaluru where Aadya and her team are currently pursuing their
PU courses.



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