‘One big decision’: St John’s pupil cuts flaming red locks for cancer

2012-11-29 00:00

TASHA Oldfield may not know American musician India.Arie’s song I am Not My Hair, but she definitely shares the sentiment.

The 14-year-old Grade 8 pupil at St John’s Diocesan School for Girls decided to cut her long flaming red locks to raise cancer awareness. She said her hair did not define her.

Her hair will be turned into a wig to be donated to a cancer survivor by the Pietermaritzburg Cancer Association.

With every pair of eyes in the school glued to her, a stylist tied Tasha’s long hair into five ponytails to shorten it into a “shattered bob” style.

Gasps in the audience at the school’s theatre hall were soon replaced by cheers.

She said that the idea came to her after reading an article in a magazine about the Kindest Cut Campaign last year.

Initially, she didn’t think she would actually do it and was a bit nervous.

But as she prepared a presentation on cancer that she shared with her school mates, she discovered that there were children with no hair.

“Then, I had to think less about myself and think much more about others,” she said.

Tasha has also lost four family members, two grandparents, a great uncle and an uncle, to cancer.

“Your hair doesn’t define you, but your actions do.”

She advised others to do the same.

“At our age we don’t have the means to support others financially, but we can do this with our hair,” she said, adding that a person’s hair grows two centimetres a month.

“I encourage us to do this. It’s amazing because we’re a big school with big hearts,” she urged her school mates.

Afterwards, a giggling Tasha said she that wasn’t sure about her new hairstyle, but she was “okay” with it.

Her peers hugged her to tell her how proud they were.

However, the Grade 10s who spoke to The Witness said that it would take a lot of guts to do what Tasha did.

Alexandra Mapstone said: “It’s for an amazing cause, but I think my pride would get in the way of doing it.”

She said everyone’s hair is different, that’s what “makes you”.

Sarah Currie said she would consider it, but she wouldn’t go too short. People are attached to their hair, she added.

Chelsea Thomas said: “It’s a big decision and one needs to be selfless to do it.”

Tasha’s mother, Diane Oldfield, who was also part of the audience, said she was really proud of her daughter, while life orientation teacher Brenda Sara said Tasha’s actions would make one girl, who would get a beautiful wig, very happy.

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