My niece, my sister’s oldest daughter, has always had the most beautiful red hair. Long, thick and glossy, it’s been the envy of many since she was a small child. Its rich, amber tones and lustrous shine ensure a string of compliments wherever she goes. In fact, it’s exactly the kind of hair you see in shampoo advertising campaigns. So imagine my surprise when she cut it all off!
But it wasn’t teenage boredom that led to such drastic action. Nor was it the wish of a 15-year-old girl to be more like her friends, or to imitate her favourite pop idol. No, it was the selfless desire to help others less fortunate than herself.
The Little Princess Trust is a charity providing real hair wigs for children suffering with hair loss. It was established in 2006 by the parents of a little girl, Hannah Tarplee, who died after being diagnosed with a Wilms tumour. The treatment she received before tragically losing her life resulted in the loss of her hair which, as you can imagine, is pretty traumatic for a five-year-old girl. Unfortunately, at that time, it was incredibly difficult to find quality wigs for young children.
After her death, Hannah’s parents decided to set up a charity dedicated to providing specialist real hair wigs for children. Since then, the charity has helped thousands of boys and girls in the UK and Ireland look and feel ‘normal’ after losing their own hair as a result of cancer treatment or other illnesses. To date, they have donated 5,000 real hair wigs to sick children.
In addition to handling real hair donations, the Little Princess Trust also raises funds to assist in finding causes and cures for paediatric cancer and to aid research into less toxic treatments. Last year, over £4,500,000 was raised for this purpose.
So how does it work? Well, the charity’s website sets out clear guidelines regarding the donation of hair. For obvious reasons, it must be of a certain length and not dyed an unnatural colour. Hair extensions and dreadlocks are not acceptable, neither are split ends. However, clean, dry hair in good condition from any gender and of any natural colour is perfect. It can be curly, straight or permed; even bleached or highlighted, provided it’s not a weird colour!
Here’s what you need to do to donate your hair to the Little Princess Trust:
– Wash and dry your hair
– Do not add conditioner or styling products
– Put your hair in a plait
– Secure at both ends with an elastic band
– Ask your hairdresser to cut above the band nearest your head
– Put the dry plait into a clear re-sealable plastic bag
– Put it in a padded envelope and send it to:
Little Princess Trust
32-35 Broad Street
The charity does accept donations from outside the UK and, if you print and complete the donation slip from their website and enclose it with your hair, they will send a certificate by e-mail thanking you for your generous gift.
All good condition hair is sent by the charity to their wig manufacturer in China. This is where your donation is transformed into a high quality wig, giving a sick child something to smile about and making them look and feel like a prince or princess.
By donating your hair to the Little Princess Trust you’ll be following the example, not just of my wonderful niece, but of chart-topper Jessie J, who famously shaved her head in 2013 to support the charity. Obviously, you don’t need to take such drastic action as shaving your head – just cutting it will suffice!
My niece doesn’t regret cutting her hair one little bit. Not only is she now sporting a trendy, more sophisticated hair style, she also has the satisfaction of knowing that 18 inches of her beautiful, healthy hair is now on its way to lighting up the life of a child with far more to worry about than a haircut. Well done Gracie Kruse, I’m so proud of you!
To find out more visit www.littleprincess.org.uk