Jayden our big-hearted hero

By Elliot Parker

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SHAVE FOR A CURE: Jayden Drinnan, 10, of Carterton is nominated for the Pride of New Zealand Award. PHOTO/LYNDA FERINGA
SHAVE FOR A CURE: Jayden Drinnan, 10, of Carterton is nominated for the Pride of New Zealand Award. PHOTO/LYNDA FERINGA

Jayden Drinnan is a 10-year-old with a sense of conscience not many could claim at his age - and now he has been nominated for a Pride of New Zealand award.

He has raised $2300 to go toward cancer research.

Mother Debbie Shields, who nominated Jayden, said that "out of the blue" he had decided to do something for families who have loved ones suffering from cancer.

He did some research and came across "Shave for a Cure", where people shave their heads to raise money for cancer research.

"I think it was a big thing for him, as he does not know anyone who has had or got cancer," Ms Shields said.

Jayden says the thought just occurred to him one day and he decided to go with it.

"I just thought it's a really good thing to do. Other family members shouldn't have to suffer because someone gets cancer."

Asked if he had any problem with the idea of shaving his head, Jayden answered: "Not really, I knew it was for a good thing."

Jayden went to see his school principal and asked if he could hold a whacky hair/mufti day at school, requesting that all the students bring a gold coin donation to go toward the cause.

He also asked the principal of Carterton School if he could have his head shaved in front of the whole school.

Jayden sold a photo of the event on Trade Me for $250 to go towards the cause and went to local businesses, friends and family to gather donations.

"Jayden wrote a list of all his family and friends that he could ask for donations and rang each one of them, crossing them off his list as he went," Ms Shields said.

"He also put posters up around the school and helped decorate the school hall for the day of the shave."

Ms Shields says she is extremely proud of her son's efforts.

"I think this is a great, heroic thing to do as Jayden is only 10 years old. Jayden has been such an inspiration, not only for his peers but also the community as, like many have said, there are not many 10-year-olds out there doing a thing like this. It's great to see someone young doing something, not just talking about it."

Jayden has always been on the lookout for others in need, according to Ms Shields.

At one stage he gave $10 he had earned during a soccer game - he had a deal of $1 a goal with his parents - to sponsor a child in need in Bangladesh.

The Pride of New Zealand awards recognise ordinary Kiwis doing big things in their communities.

Anyone can make a nomination for any of the six categories, which honour bravery and heroism, community spirit, environmental leaders, emergency heroes and fundraisers.

Nominations for Pride of New Zealand close this Sunday, 15 June. To take part, visit the official website.

- Wairarapa Times-Age

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