Two Tauranga girls are shaving their heads to raise money for a charity aimed at saving lives from suicide.
Asha Reid, 11, and sister Milla, 8, will lose their locks on May 4 as part of fundraising for the Gumboot UP NZ campaign, a programme that works alongside Mike King's I AM HOPE charity offering young and vulnerable Kiwis free counselling.
The group is run by The Key To Life Charitable Trust, set up by King who was this year named New Zealander of the Year.
The trust aimed to raise funds to provide free mental health counselling for young Kiwis "stuck-in-the-mud" on long waiting lists.
Lou Reid said her daughters had been asking to shave their hair for a good cause for about a year and a half, but had been struggling to find which one to support.
After hearing about King's fundraiser, the girls wanted to help. The girls were later joined by Lou's friend and work colleague Lana Jones who also agreed to shave her head for the cause.
The trio set up a Givealittle page to help raise the funds before they shaved.
The page has already raised about $2000.
"The goal is to raise $5000," Lou said.
Lou hoped the girls' schools Bethlehem Primary and Otumoetai Intermediate would also come on board with school mufti days to help boost funds.
She said her girls' hair was quite long, but Asha and Milla were not worried about losing their locks.
They hoped to later donate their hair to be made into wigs for children living with cancer.
"The girls are really excited," Lou said.
"They are not worried about what people are going to say. They seem to be very community-minded little girls."
Lou believed their charity focus was influenced by her late father.
"He did a lot for the community so I think it has come from him. It is really special," she said.
Lana Jones said She had shaved her hair to raise funds for a different charity a few years ago and had decided to do it again, this time for I AM HOPE.
"I decided this time I wanted to do it for a cause knowing I could personally help someone and in this case, potentially save a life," she said.
"It is a huge part of our lives and we need to be talking about it and lose the stigma around it."
All funds raised will benefit the I am Hope Gumboot Up New Zealand charity. Donate here.
I AM HOPE
I Am Hope is the youth and community-focused support group run by The Key to Life Charitable Trust, started by Mike King. For the last three years, Key To Life has been promoting positive attitudinal societal change in schools and communities up and down the country and funding private care and counselling for young people stuck-in-the-mud on waiting lists.
IF YOU NEED HELP:
If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.
Or if you need to talk to someone else:
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youthline: 0800 376 633
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (Mon-Fri 1pm to 10pm. Sat-Sun 3pm-10pm)
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
• Samaritans 0800 726 666