Chaplains, Community Involvement

Incarcerated man donates hair to cancer‑fighting kids

Jesús Plancarte holds a foot-long ponytail he's donating to a children's organization.
After growing his hair for three years, Jesús Plancarte cut it off to donate it to a children's organization. (This photo was taken before the procedure mask policy went into effect.)

For 3 years, Jesús Plancarte grew his hair for a charity

Story by Chaplain Greg Mellor
Photos by Lt. L.A. Quinn

An incarcerated man donated hair to children battling cancer, a process three years in the making.

When Jesús Plancarte was in county jail in October 2017, he heard about a program that helps children battling cancer. He decided then to start letting his hair grow so he could donate it to the cause.

“I heard that inmates could grow out their hair and donate it for kids who lost their hair due to cancer treatment,” he recalled. “I figured if given the opportunity to do a good deed such as donating my hair to a kid with cancer, I should do it. If I can offer happiness to a child who has gone through so much, I feel it’s only right to give them some joy they so deserve.” 

After transferring to CSP-Sacramento in 2019, he said he was even more motivated thanks to commercials for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. 

“Seeing children who lost their hair because of cancer on these commercials really inspired me to follow through with the donation,” said Plancarte. 

Choosing a charity

He took the initiative to research organizations that accept hair donations.  That’s when Plancarte learned about Maggie’s Wigs 4 Kids of Michigan.  

According to the organization’s mission statement, they “help the self-esteem of children as they journey through their health challenge empowering them to look and feel better. The program assists young people experiencing hair loss as a result of cancer treatment, alopecia, trichotillomania, burns and other disorders.”

After more than three years of growing his hair, Plancarte cut it off on Nov. 18. Before the final cut, his hair was well past his shoulders. A pony tail of approximately 12 to 14 inches was removed.

“Having long hair is a pain you know, but as long as this makes a kid happy, it was worth it,” Plancarte said.

He finished his act of kindness with a fresh haircut provided by barber Derrick Hill.

Read more about CDCR’s community involvement.