Ardrahan four-year-old donates her hair to charity that makes wigs for ill children

Four-year-old Roisin Smith from Ardrahan

Four-year-old Roisin Smith from Ardrahan

A County Galway child was so moved when she saw a photograph of a little girl who was diagnosed with cancer that she decided to get her hair cut and donate it to a charity that makes wigs for children with the condition.

Four-year-old Roisin Smith from Ardrahan saw a photograph of a little girl called Lucy on her mother Caroline’s mobile phone. Lucy O’Connor (9 ) is from Co Kildare and is the daughter of a colleague of Caroline’s husband. She was diagnosed with lymphoma last September.

“Roisin had never met Lucy but as soon as she saw her photo she wanted to give the girl her hair,” says her mum, Caroline Smith. She wanted to know why she had no hair and asked could she give her some of hers. She said: ‘I want to cut off my hair and give it to the girl who has no hair.’ We started to watch hair donation videos on YouTube and she decided that she wanted to do it. We gave it five weeks to make sure she understood what her hair would be like afterwards.”

Roisin was excited in the run up to the event, and kept asking when was it taking place. “‘Is it this week?’she would say.”

Undaunted by the thought of parting with her long, flowing locks, Roisin went ahead with her decision on Saturday. Supported by a small group of family friends the caring little girl got nine inches cut off her hair at Leah Kelly Hair Design in Gort. It will be donated to the charity Little Princess Trust which provides real hair wigs to children in the UK and Ireland who have lost their hair through cancer treatment.

“We are all so proud of Róisín, she smiled the entire way through the haircut, not a hint of a tear,” says her mum. “She’s the best girl and is setting a great example for her little sister Ciara. Afterwards my husband asked her did she want to get her hair back and she shook her head and said: ‘No, the little girl needs it.’”

Roisin’s preschool, Enfant Educare preschool in Ardrahan, supported her brave efforts and organised a fundraising teddybears’ picnic. This raised €690 and, together with the sponsored hair cut, the total amount raised was €3,960. Caroline Smith initial target was €1,000 so she is delighted with the success of the event.

The money will go to BUMBLEance, the world’s first children’s ambulance service which is designed and fitted-out exclusively to take sick children from their homes to treatment centres in a stress-free, child-friendly way. The brainchild of Kerry couple Tony and Mary Heffernan and their Saoirse Foundation, the project grew out of a determination by the family to do something to alleviate some of the stress that children suffer on long ambulance trips. The inspiration came from their own experience and the stress suffered by their late daughter Saoirse during her frequent transfers from Kerry to Dublin.

BUMBLEance is Lucy’s chosen charity. When she got sick last year she made Loom bracelets in hospital. Caroline sold these through her online store which sells pretty children’s dresses (www.cailindeas.com ). The venture raised more than €600.

Róisín’s little sister Ciara, who is aged three, was inspired by her big sister’s selfless act and wanted to donate her hair, also.

“But she wasn’t blessed with long locks so it will be a few more years before she has the length required. Róisín and Lucy have never met but we hope to do a joint cheque presentation to BUMBLEance at the end of March and they will meet then.”

People can still donate to the fund until the end of March. The link to donate is www.idonate.ie/roisinshair To see a video showing Róisín’s hair donation log on to www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8WVy4Sd_KE and to find out more about fundraising campaign for Lucy O’Connor’s favourite charity log on to www.facebook.com/Isupportlucy

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