Three years is a long time between hair cuts, but for Deniliquin’s Sam Blenkiron it was all worth it.
The 12 year-old grew out his hair in order to make a donation to the Australia Alopecia Areata Foundation.
The AAAF provides support to those with all forms of Alopecia Areata and their families, inform the public and create awareness, and support research into a cure or acceptable treatment for the disease.
The foundation also provides wigs to sufferers, which is why Sam sidestepped the hairdresser for so long.
The Edward School student made the decision to grow his hair out to donate the ‘off-cuts’ to the foundation which can be used to make a wig for someone with Alopecia.
‘‘I chose to donate to the AAAF because they accept hair donations without the expectation of a cash donation,’’ Sam said.
‘‘They like the hair to be in excess of 36 centimetres. My hair had grown out to 40 centimetres before it was cut.’’
Growing his hair did make for some challenging times for Sam, though.
His mother Jodie said there were plenty of comments made that upset him during his time with long hair.
‘‘In public toilets he was constantly getting comments from guys saying the girls toilets were in the other room,’’ she said.
‘‘While they probably didn’t realise he was actually a boy due to his long hair, those comments are hard to handle at a young age.
‘‘But Sam stayed mentally tough through it all and stuck to his goal.
‘‘He was very dedicated and I’m so proud of him for doing what he did.’’
Sam said he chose to cut his hair off now because he is starting high school next year.
He also said there were a lot of things to adjust to without his long locks.
‘‘It took me a while to sleep after the haircut,’’ he said.
‘‘People at school had no idea that I was cutting it off because I had told them it would be coming off in two weeks time.
‘‘Some of the other kids and even a couple of teachers didn’t recognise me with the short hair. Everyone was shocked.
‘‘Because of what I did my class also started to look into Alopecia a bit more to understand the disease.
‘‘I probably won’t grow my hair out again, but I’m happy that I did what I did.’’