Girls' locks get the chop for charity

By Genevieve Helliwell -
Students from St Mary's Catholic School chopped off their hair to get transformed into wigs for women living with cancer. Photo / Supplied
Students from St Mary's Catholic School chopped off their hair to get transformed into wigs for women living with cancer. Photo / Supplied

A group of girls have cut off their ponytails and donated their hair to a cause that will see their locks turned into wigs for women living with cancer.

Ten students from St Mary's Catholic school in Tauranga sat in front of their peers yesterday and had 20cm of their hair cut off for the Pantene Beautiful Lengths campaign.

One by one the girls sat down on a chair while hairdresser Marilyn McRae chopped their ponytails off.

For Issie Dekker, cutting off her locks was an easy decision.

"Two of my extended family and my old kindy teacher have had cancer ... so I thought this was an easy way to help them and other people with cancer."

"I'm not too worried about cutting it off, it's going to grow back," the 11-year-old said.

Issie approached the school after she saw the campaign advertised in the newspaper, then later on Campbell Live.

She wrote a letter to the principal and encouraged other students to lose their locks. Nine others stepped up to the challenge.

One girl said she had lost her uncle and cousin to cancer, and wanted to take part as soon as she heard about the venture.

Another donor said it was nice to be able to help people who were unwell. "This is going to change someone's life," she said.

It takes about six ponytail donations to make one wig.

Pantene, in partnership with the charity Look Good Feel Better, will distribute the wigs across the country at no cost to patients.

Hollywood actress Naomi Watts is a campaign supporter and is encouraging New Zealanders to give their hair during National Donate Your Hair Week, which launched on November 12.

Since 2006, Beautiful Lengths has received more than 300,000 ponytails from around the world to create 24,000 real hair wigs for women who have lost their hair through cancer treatment.

Principal Ben Fuller said he was extremely proud of the girls who donated their hair.

"For some people, especially girls, it can be a big thing to lose their hair but these girls have done something really special by donating their hair ... and it's going to make someone very happy and improve their quality of life."

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