It was by chance that, in 2016, Rosaria Cunha began creating hairbands with natural hair extensions sewn in for patients undergoing chemotherapy. Owner of a nursery décor atelier, she first tried her technique by sewing one of her daughter’s hair extensions into a small knitted hat and realized that, with some improvement, she would be able to alleviate the pain of many families. From knitted hats she moved on to baseball caps, and finally to the hairbands. Rosaria is the newest partner of the ARD Foundation. Together, they hope to achieve greater results so that more hairbands can be donated to those who need them.
“My excitement towards [working with the] ARD Foundation is huge. Being such a strong presence internationally means that the possibilities we can achieve through this partnership are numerous,” claims Rosaria.
“We’ll develop a project together with the goal to promote campaigns, especially during the month of October – during Pink October – and also during Children’s Day. These will occur both in Brazil and in the United States,” says Ana Gizzi, the CEO of ARD Foundation.
A graduate in pedagogy, Rosasia has always enjoyed manual work. When she was a little girl she learned the basics of knitting, crochet, and embroidery. After working at the country’s registry, she decided to bet on an atelier for nursery décor when her daughter was six months old. It was then that she discovered her hidden talent. This hairband is her third patent – the others being a pillow that helps people do sit-ups and a two-headed bear to place on the doorknob to stop it from slamming.
After creating the knitted hat with the hair extensions – which she managed to donate 50 units during the winter – Rosaria Cunha had the idea to create the baseball cap for the summer. The headgear was closed at the back and had a lining that prevented the hair extensions from touching the person’s scalp. She noticed, however, that many girls did not wear baseball caps. This made her realize she needed to keep innovating.
“It was then that, by getting these caps made of silk socks, cutting them and sewing the natural hair extensions that I arrived at the hairband. They are very different from wigs. The hairs are donated by incredible people who aided in the making of the hairbands so they could come in all colors and sizes! Even though it requires more hair, it is a cheaper accessory that the person can wear in whatever way they please,” explains Rosaria.
Last August, she posted a video on multiple social media platforms explaining that her hairbands were not wigs and how they were made from donated hair. The response was incredible. At the moment, Rosaria has already donated 345 hairbands – an incredible number, especially considering that some ONG (non-government organization) that donate wigs often can’t top those numbers, even when working in a far longer period of time.
“I can’t describe the happiness I felt when Ana first contacted me. I had no idea of the difficulties I would face when I started investing in this work, and I know that ARD will be able to actively help me. We are extremely happy to see the joyous faces of the patients that receive the donations. Together we are bigger and stronger than any obstacle,” concludes Rosaria.