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Tourmakeady girl makes the cut for charity

Sarah pictured after the cut with the three plaits cut from her hair. Also pictured are her mother Tina, sister Emily and the staff  from Klassy Kuts in Ballinrobe.
JOB DONE Sarah pictured after the cut with the three plaits cut from her hair. Also pictured are her mother Tina, sister Emily and the staff  from Klassy Kuts in Ballinrobe. Pic: Trish Forde.

Tourmakeady girl makes the cut for charity

Ciara Galvin

For any girl or woman hair is an important part of their appearance and is, for many, an intrinsic part of being female. So when Ballinrobe hair salon, Klassy Kuts were approached by 11-year-old Sarah Heneghan, from Tourmakeady, and asked to cut her waist length hair and donate it to the Rapunzel Foundation, they knew she was something special.
The Rapunzel Foundation collects ponytails of hair donated by children and adults across the country and then sends them to New Zealand to be made into natural-looking and comfortable wigs. Wigs are provided mainly for children with alopecia especially as these natural wigs are made for long term users who can go about everyday life due to the quality and durability of the wigs. A wig can take from 15 to 25 ponytails of hair to create, and can cost the wearer up to €3,000. Along with helping alopecia sufferers with financial costs, the foundation also provides help and guidance about the condition.
Speaking to The Mayo News about Sarah’s thoughtful donation, her mother Tina said she was very proud of her daughter, adding that although it is a simple act, it can have such an affect on another child.
Sarah, who has been growing her hair for two years, got the idea when she was watching a film which showed a child without hair, Tina said her daughter questioned why the child had no hair and got upset.
“I explained to her that some children who have cancer or alopecia lose their hair and that in America people can donate their hair. She said she would love to do that,” explained Tina.
After some research by Sarah’s aunt, who has previously donated hair, Klassy Kuts on Main St, Ballinrobe, who are a registered salon with the Ranpunzel Foundation was conveniently found. Registered salons are in charge of cutting the donor’s hair free of charge, and ensuring the ponytail is send to the foundation correctly.
Two years on, and with a hair length measuring 15 inches, surpassing the foundation’s requirement of 12 inches, Sarah’s mother, speaking before the cut, said the salon would be able to get two and a half ponytails from her hair. Perhaps not seeming that important but when it takes a staggering 25 ponytails to make one wig – every strand helps.
Brushing off the nerves before the big cut, Sarah told The Mayo News she wasn’t really nervous as ‘it will grow again’.
Already thinking of donating again, Sarah has also been trying to convince her friends to do the same. Even Sarah’s sister Emily, aged eight, is following in her sister’s footsteps currently growing her hair for donation donate.
Klassy Kuts owner, Lisa Costello said herself and the other stylists thought it was a great idea, “She came to us a few weeks back and I thought it was such a great thing she wanted to do. It would be great if people realise what she is doing. She’s a brave girl,” said the hairdresser.
For more information, or to locate a registered Rapunzel Foundation salon, visit

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