Hair products are now a thing of the past for freshly shorn 10-year-old Alessandra Tobin - and she reckons she'll be able to run faster too.
The primary school pupil is one of an estimated 3500 New Zealanders expected to Shave for a Cure next week.
"I won't have to tie up my hair for school, and you know how sometimes your head gets really hot under a hat because you have too much hair? Well, now it won't get hot.
"I can run faster and swim faster, and spend less money on hair products."
Then: "I'm going to have to do a selfie and send it to my friends."
Then: "Ahh, it tickles, oh gosh, oh gosh!" as the shaver buzzed the first of her ash-blonde locks to the floor of Kilbirnie hair salon Hair by Zaor yesterday.
Proud mum Annwyn Tobin said Alessandra had first started talking about wanting to shave her head about a year ago. She had so far raised $1300 for Shave for a Cure, Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand's annual fundraiser. "I don't know if I would have done something so courageous. Everyone can make a difference, even a 10-year-old," said Annwyn.
But Alessandra has her reasons.
"Three of my grandparents died of cancer, and I wanted to do it in memory of them."
Her hair, which was tied up into dozens of tiny ponytails before being shaved, will be donated to charity Locks for Love, which provides wigs to children who have cancer.
As she smoothed her hand over her newly bald head, she said it felt a bit weird, but had been worth it.
Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand chief executive Pru Etcheverry said it was a "very brave and fun and generous thing" that people could do to help.
"The stories are just beautiful, of why people take part - often, but not always, it's because they know someone affected by cancer."
- The Dominion Post
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