A Mississippi high schooler has launched a nonprofit organization with the goal of helping cancer patients keep their hair during chemotherapy.
Stanley Qu, a junior at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Ridgeland, created ‘Keep Your Hair’ after watching his mother suffer from lung cancer when he was in elementary school.
“I don’t remember a lot of it, but what I do remember is she testified, ‘If I have to get chemo and if chemo is the only way I can survive, I will not receive it’ because she didn’t want to lose her hair,” Qu said. “The number one reason why women choose not to receive chemo is actually their fear of hair loss—not the nausea or the vomiting or the sickness or the nerve damage—so my mission is to make hair loss optional for women receiving chemo in Mississippi.”
To do just that, the 17-year-old is raising money in order to provide cold caps, which are gel coolant-filled caps that help patients keep their hair, to women in Mississippi diagnosed with cancer.
According to a 2017 clinical trial test from Baylor College of Medicine, 50.5 percent of patients with stage I or II breast cancer successfully retained their hair with the use of the scalp cooling devices. However, the main reason that scalp-cooling therapy is not utilized as much as it should is the price tag.
“The technology behind cold caps has been around for over two decades and it’s nothing new,” Qu explained. “It’s just turned into a profit for these companies that initially created them. To get the caps, you need around $2,000 to rent them. That’s what these companies do. They rent the caps and that’s just out of the budget for so many Mississippians. We want to make it free.”
“Our main goal is to save lives, and we can’t do that without the help of other Mississippians.”