An eleven-year-old who has waited half her life to donate her hair to charity can now do so – after it finally starting accepting Afro textured locks.
Poppy Lee-Burrowes had hoped to give away her hair to make wigs when she was just five.
But at the time, the Little Princess Trust – a charity that provides real hair wigs to children who have lost their own through cancer treatment or other reasons – said it was unable to make wigs from Afro hair.
Undeterred, Poppy spent the next six years growing it in case this changed – and this year it finally did.
In April, the charity announced it was now able to make wigs using Afro hair, so Poppy’s plan to donate was back on the cards.
She aims to cut off about eight inches of her hair on January 29 – and will raise money for charity at the same time.
Despite knowing she will miss her ‘big hair, don’t care’ look, she knows that other children will really appreciate her donation and will get great use from her hair.
Poppy, from Rhondda Cynon Taf, Wales, says: ‘I want to do it because of the people that won’t have hair. I want to be generous and help.”
On Poppy’s fundraising page, she wrote: ‘It’s taken me since I was about five, I have only ever had small trims in my life, never a big cut, so this is a big deal to me.
‘It costs £550 to make just one wig for a child.’
Even though Poppy loves her hair, she is excited for a new bobbed look.
Poppy’s mum Jessica said her daughter asked if she could cut her hair for charity after hearing about her friends doing the same over the years.
She told the BBC: ‘It was last year a friend sent me an article to say they were now able to accept afro hair.
‘We showed it to Poppy and she was ecstatic, over the moon. She was more than happy to have it cut and share her hair.
‘We are so proud of her.’
It can take 30-60 hours to make a hand-tied individual wig, according to Little Princess Trust’s chief executive Phil Brace.
The charity said it has always offered Afro style wigs using straight hair, which was later curled into the requested style.
But it was unable to find a wig manufacturer able to use hair donations from Black and mixed-race people in wigs.
Afro hair can easily break in the wig-making process, but after working with 120-year-old London company Raoul to develop a wefting method, Mr Brace says ‘any child or young person who wants a wig now really does have a wonderful choice.’
Poppy’s other mum, Beki, adds: ‘I think it’s really important that they’re now accepting afro hair because obviously to help all children and I think it will help children to keep their identity as well.
‘I think that’s really important and it’s a really big step.’
You can donate on Poppy’s fundraising page: Poppys Afro Chop.
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