A 20-year-old Waterside woman has decided to make a crowning statement with her flowing long locks...
Emma Smallwoods, from Bramhall Crescent in Kilfennan, is cutting off her tresses this Friday to support the Little Princess Trust for children left bald by the effects of cancer treatment.
The local girl is not only over half way to raising her target of £1,000 for the charity, but she is also taking the scissors to her hair in memory of a friend who lost her battle with cancer in January.
Anyone who would like to help her can make a donation at www.justgiving.com/Emma-Smallwoods1
“My hair has never been short and in order to get enough to make a wig they need to get seven to eight inches off it,” Emma said, unfazed by the prospect of having a short ‘Bob’ for the first time in her life.
“My birthday is March 9 and I am doing this for my birthday.
“I cannot wait to get it taken off.
“My hair will be used to make real hair wigs for boys and girls in the UK and Ireland who have lost their own hair through cancer treatment.
“I was inspired to do this by Leah Whyte, who was just 16 when she lost her life to cancer in January,” Emma said.
“Leah’s constant smile, her positivity and her unshakeable faith encouraged me so much and she has made a greater impact in her short 16 years than most people do in their lifetime.
“I want to get my hair cut in memory of Leah and to help little children who are going through the same treatment,” the plucky young woman said.
“The wigs the Little Princess Trust provides are given freely to the children, but the charity has to pay roughly £350 for each wig they purchase from their wig suppliers.
“Little Princess Trust doesn’t receive any formal funding and they rely totally on generosity, fundraising and donations. So, as well as donating my hair I am also trying to raise as much money as possible to help the charity to continue to provide wigs to the children,” she said, appealing for public support to reach her target.
“I want to say a massive thank you to everyone who has so generously donated so far.
“We reached almost £500 just online in just over one week,” she said, particularly thanking the staff at Marks and Spencer in Foyleside, the people at City of Derry Equestrian centre and Pony Club Centre for their donations.
In truth, Emma and her sister Loren had an ‘unofficial trial run’ at having shorter hair when they were little - inspired by a trip to the hairdressers, as Emma recalled...
“I remember we got our hair cut on the Friday and we decided to play hairdressers on the Saturday with real scissors.
“ I remember we got up early that morning to do it and we were in the kitchen and we used the kitchen scissors to style our hair. We took a good couple of inches off. Loren sat in a chair and I cut her hair and then we swapped and she cut mine! Mum went mad and we had to go back and get fringes and everything,” she said laughing at the memory.