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06 November 2019
Horsham boy Austin Simpson has a mane of hair many would envy.
After more than three years of growth, the grade five student’s curly locks now flow halfway down his back.
But despite being blessed with unusually fecund follicles, he is preparing to shave it all off in a few months.
Austin is raising money for Variety’s Hair with Heart program and has committed to shaving his head early next year.
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Hair with Heart raises money and makes wigs using donated hair for children who have lost theirs because of medical conditions.
Austin will undergo the ‘big chop’ before his first football game with Pimpinio next season, and is appealing for donations between now and then.
He said he was inspired to help cancer sufferers after his great grandmother was diagnosed with spots on her lungs and his aunt suffered from alopecia – an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss.
“I wanted to do this because there are a lot of people who don’t have hair because of treatment for cancer or other diseases,” he said.
“Making wigs for them is a good way to help build up their confidence.”
Austin said he was also inspired by the television series Alexa and Kate, in which one of a pair of best friends is diagnosed with cancer.
Austin’s mother Brigitte Higham said she was proud of her son’s efforts.
She encouraged people to donate to help cover the cost of making the wigs once Austin’s hair is donated.
“So far, we have a few donations and we’ve got family in England and Thailand who have shared the post, so we’re hoping we get more donations,” she said.
“We put $1500 as a goal, but we’re hoping for anything. It costs thousands of dollars to make the wigs.”
Ms Higham said Austin had worked hard to maintain his hair in order to donate it.
“It’s been a lot of hard work over the past few years brushing and taking care of it,” she said.
“It’s so curly it gets knotted. He’s a young boy and he’s playing football and wrestling and the rest of it, so every night it has got to be brushed or it gets so knotted.
“He’s finally learned how to look after it, and he’s been having regular trims.”
Ms Higham said Austin’s hairdresser had admitted it would be hard to shave his hair after such a long time of maintaining it, but agreed it was for a great cause.
“Everyone has always told him his hair is so nice and thick and that they would love to have hair like that,” she said.
“At first, he was just growing it because a lot of young boys have longer hair at the moment, but with his great grandmother being really sick, he decided he wanted to shave it for cancer and raise money.
“Hopefully it helps a few people – he’s got that much hair, I’m sure they can make a few wigs out of it.”
People can donate to Austin’s Hair with Heart page by visiting website hairwithheart.everydayhero.com/au/austin-connor-simpson.
– Colin MacGillivray
The entire November 6, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!