A WORTHING schoolgirl has donated her hair to charity to help children who are undergoing cancer treatment.
Maya Puglia, 10, had 26cm cut off her hair last week, which was sent to the Little Princess Trust, a charity that provides real hair wigs for children suffering from hair loss.
The Durrington Middle School pupil’s act of kindness is even more special because she was diagnosed with loose anagen hair syndrome, a condition that seriously affects hair growth, at the age of four.
Her mother Karen said: “Maya’s hair never used to grow properly and we spent a lot of time toing and froing to the doctors.
“She would twist her hair and it would fall out, or she would wake up with lots of hair over her pillow.
“When she started nursery her hair was still very patchy and people would say she looked like a boy.
“We used to have quite a few tears when Maya was little because of her hair and she was eventually diagnosed at St Thomas’ Hospital in London, and the syndrome is partly to do with thyroid and iron deficiency. We manage it now through diet and osteopath appointments.
“I had long hair and decided that I wanted to get it cut to raise money for charity and Maya said out of the blue that she would like to get it done as well. I was really surprised because she had not had her hair cut in ten years for the fear that it would fall out again, and we used to call her Rapunzel.”
Maya said: “I did it because I did not want other kids to feel the same way as I did when I was younger. I used to get teased at school and they used to call me a boy. I wanted to have hair like the other girls so that I could wear ponytails and ribbons.
“When I grew it long, my favourite hairstyle was to wear a bun.
“I was not that nervous about having all my hair cut off, I was quite excited and really love how my hair looks now.
“The charity works by making wigs out of people’s hair and then they give them to little girls and boys if they have cancer.
“I first heard about it from my friends at school.
“They were all surprised when I went in with it cut because I did not tell them that I was doing it.”
Maya has to date raised almost £300 for the charity.
Older sister Tia, 13, a pupil at Durrington High School, is now growing her hair so that she, too, can donate it to the Little Princess Trust.
She said: “I am so proud of Maya. She struggled when she was a toddler to grow hair due to a stupid medical condition but then she had treatment and grew her hair to just below her hips.
“It brought a tear to my eye to see my sister cut her hair and donate it to charity. She is so brave.”
To donate go to www.justgiving.com/Karen-Hedger2/