Short and sweet – Leah Bardeen from Belvedere Manor donated more than 15 inches of her hair to the Rapunzel Foundation
FOR the last two years, 10-year-old Leah Bardeen from Belvedere Manor, Waterford city, has been letting her hair grow so she can get it cut and donate it to the Rapunzel Foundation, where it can be used in wigs for people dealing with hair loss (alopecia).
According to her mother Claire, Leah got the idea when a classmate of hers from the Presentation got her hair cut for the charity.
“As soon as she heard what the hair was used for, and who it would help, she had her mind made up,” Claire said. “Your hair has to be at least 14 inches long in order to be eligible so during the lockdown she was measuring it every other day to see how much it had grown. She couldn’t wait to do it.”
The day finally came on August 31 when Leah was booked into The Collective by Lloyd’s on Patrick Street. This was the first time she would get a proper hair cut since her Communion a couple of years earlier.
“The closer she got to the big day, the more nervous she got,” Claire said. “I think a few doubts were starting to creep in, but they didn’t last long and she ended up getting fifteen and a half inches cut altogether.”
When asked if she liked her new look, Leah said that she loved it.
“It definitely makes me look older,” she said. “I’m definitely glad that I did it and I hope that it can help someone else now, who isn’t able to grow hair at the moment.”
Claire said that this was the part of the process that hit home most for Leah.
“When she was worried about getting it cut, she soon realised that the hair would grow back, which is a privilege that many children don’t have,” she said. “After realising that, she was adamant about getting it cut. Now that it’s short she doesn’t pass a mirror without having a look at herself!”
If you’d like to find out more about the Rapunzel Foundation, visit Rapunzelfoundation.com