Anika's Brave Story

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Annika is 9 years old and is passionate about helping people with cancer. Not only did she grow her hair long to donate to people living with cancer, her and her brother also raised money at school. This is Annika’s story:

Hello, my name is Annika. Today, I will be telling you the story of why I donated my hair to the Cancer Society.

Back when I was about 5, I went on holiday to Sri Lanka with my family. When I was there, I saw some people that were wearing bandanas and beanies. Then I went to my mum and I asked her why they were wearing those things in the scorching weather. She said that they had cancer.

At that time, I had no clue what cancer was. I only knew that cancer was a type of sickness or something that people don’t want. I was still quite confused about why there were people that were covering their heads when it was such a hot country. “When someone gets cancer,’” my mum explained, “they need a certain type of medicine and x-ray treatment (radiotherapy) to cure them and part of the medicine makes your hair fall out.” That made more sense.

I felt so bad for people with cancer. They must have a hard time in the hospital. Having sickness and losing your hair. I really wanted to help them.

I knew there was false hair because I use it for my dance productions. Maybe I could cut my hair and give it to them. I thought I couldn’t do it because I had short hair back then. But I could grow my hair and give it to them. That’s when I got the idea of giving my hair to the Cancer Society. I knew my hair would help at least one person.

When I had made my decision, it was hard to give in. Even though I had got everything ready to cut my hair, I was still kind of sad. I didn’t want to lose my beautiful silky hair. As the hairdresser started to snip my hair, I was regretting it, even though I knew it was for a good cause. I tried my best to stay strong.

I actually like the new hairstyle I have now. When you donate your hair to cancer, you don’t necessarily have to go bald, you can just cut your hair to the length you like. I’m hoping to grow my hair really long and then cut it again for someone needing a wig. Especially during this time with COVID-19, we all need to be kind to each other, whether we know them or not. Even though it might not be face-to-face, we still need to help one another.

Thank you, Annika, for all your support and sharing your heartwarming story. 

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Annika, the Christmas before she donated her hair to help someone with cancer

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A beautiful thank you card from Annika and her brother, Navin, for all our help - so sweet! 

WANT TO HELP YOUR COMMUNITY, BUT NOT SURE HOW? HERE'S AN IDEA YOU CAN DO FROM HOME:

The nation has changed but the impact of hearing the words 'you have cancer' has not. When you give up your hair by doing your Brave the Shave you will allow the Cancer Society to care for vulnerable cancer patients through Covid-19 and beyond.

No hair, no worries. Donate to one of the many brave shavers or, shave your beard in unity with front line workers.

To Brave the Shave, visit bravetheshave.cancernz.org.nz and click "Sign up Now" and then select your nearest Cancer Society.