Meet Premi Mathew: Founder of Protect your Mom (PYM) and Hair for Hope(H4H) Campaign

How many of you are planning for a new hair style? What if you have an opportunity not to bin your chopped hair and donate it to someone who really needs it?

 

premi mathew

Everyone knows that cancer patients lose their hair due to chemo treatment and many can’t afford wig tresses and lose their self-esteem. Here comes the Hair for Hope to the rescue.

Protect your mom is a cancer awareness campaign to protect the lives of moms, daughters, friends and relatives through regular screening and early detection as it has better prognosis. Both intiative is the brainchild of Premi Mathew who got inspiration from a little boy Dylan who was growing his hair for donation. Premi Mathew has organized numerous events for both the initiatives across the world and she has inspired and encouraged a lot of students to check their mom for the signs of breast cancer.

1. Tell us about yourself and what made you to form protect your mom and hair for hope?

I am an MBA with over 15 years teaching experience so I decided to harness the pester power of students to beat breast cancer.

Hair for hope India was started when I found my 8 year old nephew growing his hair to donate it to chemo patients.

2. What is protect your mom all about? How can children become involved in this campaign?

It is a campaign with a difference!

Where kids as young as 7 years campaign to create awareness about breast cancer! And they probably know more than an average adult about the disease too!

Started as a marketing project without funds using only social media and PR the campaign has held events in UAE, India and even Canada, hit the headlines several times and has been converted into a case study.

hair for hope

Awareness about breast cancer is low in the eastern world. Most ladies ignore it till cancer spreads and becomes fatal. So PYM took an unusual route- through children. It makes kids as young as 8 pester their moms to check for lumps and early signs of breast cancer. Protect your mom campaign was started by Premi Mathew, a Marketing faculty to make the students pester their moms to check for lumps and early signs of breast cancer. The campaign targets students for three reasons. 1. They grow up to be more informed adults 2. Mothers are unlikely to screen out kids unlike doctors and official sources. 3. Students can be reached through social media at zero cost.

Following the TEDx model, the campaign has developed songs, dances, speeches and skits to create awareness in the language of the youth. The same can be viewed at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSqsNKkEwKs&list=PLX2Jh84kCpfiNSWnZH5yqYd2dzWS14ksB

PYM invites students around the world and marketing faculty to urge students to organize such events to create awareness and save thousands of lives lost every year just because breast cancer is detected too late.

Marketing students can learn PR and cause marketing on the job by organizing such events

More pictures at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.776703372348820.1073741878.159563707396126&type=1

3. Hair for hope campaign have helped many. Can you tell us about some of your donors?

Yes we provide free wigs to chemotherapy patients. We are flattered to find ladies risking marriage, looks, social opposition etc. to donate their hair in a country like India where length of hair is a sign of beauty

4. What are the organization’s major accomplishments thus far and how has it grown?

Unique features:

  • The only campaign which truly educates even 8 year olds by encouraging them to do a lot of research.
  • 7 year olds from Dubai have held events in Indian Schools to promote PYM. Students have also held events in Trivandrum (Kerala), Bihar and Karnataka without any funds.
  • Zero cost, zero staffed campaign run by volunteers connected via Facebook mostly students ages 7 and above
  • Creates awareness through music, dance and art -the language of the youth.
  • Boys have also gone bald in three separate instances (symbolic since chemo patients lose hair) while girls donated hair to our sister campaign Hair for hope India.
  • Builds leadership and organizational skills by assisting students to organize events to create awareness
  • Business /Marketing students could also test their skills while saving lives.
  • Already has a strong presence in India and held two pink walkathons in 2011 and 2012 with over 1000 students hitting all headlines in Kerala.

 

Achievements:

  • Involved over 30000 students in school wide programs without sponsors.
  • Has a unique collection of dances, songs, speeches, skits etc to create awareness. Check out the YouTube link at www.protectyourmom.asia
  • Finalist, Emirates Woman Award 2011
  • Winner Dwani Award, UAE
  • PYM story is one of the “67 inspiring stories”, a book presented to Mr Nelson Mandela.
  • Created awareness about self-exams among millions through the page and events which were widely covered by all the leading papers in Dubai.
  • It was also covered by all media in Kochi when they held 3 pink walkathons

 

5. How can people get more involved if they want to know more about you and what your organization does?

They can organize events. Contact pym20101@hotmail.com after checking the previous events.

6. How can people reading this interview support the goals of the organization?

They can also hold small events to create awareness about hair donation and to create awareness about self-exams. If 7 year olds can do it anyone can do it. We need every college, school to organize events just to create awareness.

7. You have taken a bold and commendable step What is your motto and future plans

To spread hair for hope India all over India.

8. What is your favorite quote?

“Nothing is impossible!”

 

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