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Zara shows off her donation. Photo: SUPPLIED

Hair today, gone tomorrow for charity

Zara Johnson has just had the shortest haircut of her life – and it’s all for a good cause.

The 10-year old Moanataiari School student donated her hair for the first time, sending it off to a non-profit in Dunedin that makes wig prosthetics for people with hair loss-related medical conditions.

Mum Nicole also donated her hair – it was her third time doing so.

“I think she’d heard me talking about where I send my hair, just when other people have asked,” Nicole said. “She’s heard me [talk about] some people who have medical conditions and that they either lose their hair or they can’t grow hair.”

Although Zara was excited to help, Nicole said she spent a lot of time making sure her daughter understood what she was doing and why.

“I made her wait until mine was long enough just in case she wanted to pull out. But for the last year she’s been keen to do it. When it finally came to the day she was very excited.”

Before the cut, with their long tresses. Photo: SUPPLIED

On the day, their hair was more than 14 inches in length – enough for the donation itself plus some left over for their new ‘dos.

With a family friend and former hairdresser lending her scissors, Zara and Nicole’s freshly washed hair was sectioned, measured, and finally lopped off.

Zara was left with a short bob, while Nicole opted for a pixie cut.

“She was really excited and obviously everyone noticed she’d had her hair cut,” Nicole said. “She’s still telling people.”

The liberated locks were sent by post to Freedom Hair. Each wig takes 15-25 ponytails to make and can be styled just like regular hair. The company also uses silicon cap technology to ensure the wigs don’t slip off, even while swimming.

Zara was sent a certificate of appreciation by the company, which she took to school to show her class.

“It was a big change, she hasn’t had hair that short since she was [a baby],” Nicole said.
“I don’t think she’s had any regrets with it, there’s been a lot of positive response.

“She’s a very outgoing little girl, so she loves telling people about it.”

By ALICE PARMINTER, Public Journalism funded by NZ on Air

Zara and Nicole with their new, shorter, hairstyles. Photo: SUPPLIED