At 4 and a half, Katie Stubbings is a little older than most kids are when they have their very first hair cut.
But there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation why her mom Tammy and dad Ryan kept her home from the salon.
It took four years for Katie’s hair to grow into a pony tail that was long enough to donate to Angel Hair For Wigs, a program of A Child’s Voice Foundation.
The non-profit organization makes and distributes wigs to children in Canada who have lost their hair to cancer or other childhood illnesses.
Seven years ago – before Katie or her twin brother Evan were born – Tammy lost her auntie Val to cancer.
“My aunt had to wear a wig during her battle, and had fun with all the different looks the wigs gave her,” Tammy said.
When Katie was born, she surprised everyone by how much hair she had – and how fast it grew.
“We decided we could grow her hair out and donate it as a memory to my aunt,” Tammy explained.
When they heard about children losing their hair to cancer treatments, the family decided to donate Katie’s hair to a foundation that makes wigs specifically for children.
The big day of Katie’s first hair cut finally arrived on March 13. The family went to Karen’s Corner, where family friend Karen Pelhke of Cloverdale did the honours.
Katie was a little shy during her first visit to the hairdresser’s, but took it well, even if mom spouted a few tears.
“It was pretty emotional. We were excited, but it was hard to see her hair go,” Tammy said. “It’s nice to know a little boy or girl is going to have some hair, if they want it or need it.”
Her long, light brown locks – which had grown past her waist – were trimmed into a stylish bob that falls just below her chin.
The hairdresser cut off an impressive 14 inches – two more than the 12 inches required to donate for wig making.
Between 10 to 12 ponytails are required for just one wig, and they cost between $800 to $1,000 to manufacture.
That’s why Katie also collected $275, so she could donate the money along with her hair.
Katie wouldn’t say if she planned to do it again someday, but her mom isn’t ruling it out.
“Her hair grows quite fast, so we can do it again if we need to,” Tammy said.
For more information, visit www.acvf.ca/index.php/our-programs/angel-hair-for-kids.