Cork woman's grows hair to 14in in length to help two charities

A Cork woman who turned Rapunzel for charity by growing her hair to 14in in length, has helped two charities — donating the hair to one and raising around €5,000 for another.

Cork woman's grows hair to 14in in length to help two charities

Three years ago, Clonakilty-born Laura Houlihan decided to grow her hair to help the Wexford-based wig charity, the Rapunzel Foundation, which turns donated hair into wigs for people suffering from hair loss as a result of health conditions.

“The wigs are donated to people with conditions like alopecia,” explains Laura, a product development specialist with Musgrave.

Donated hair must be grown to about 14in in length and cannot be dyed or coloured, she explained.

In October 2014, Laura, whose hair was shoulder-length at the time, started growing her locks a further 12in to reach the required length of 14in.

“It took me three years,” she recalls.

On September 21, the 38-year-old cut her hair, which she then donated to the Rapunzel Foundation.

After that, and in response to suggestions from friends and work colleagues, she began a new campaign, this time to use her haircut as the basis for a sponsorship drive to raise money for Cork’s Marymount Hospice, which provides a range of services to people with cancer and other conditions.

“My father Justin died from cancer nine years ago and my aunt also passed away from cancer four years ago,” she said.

“Numerous people close to me have been affected by cancer and have availed of the services offered by Marymount.”

She decided to raise money for Marymount by getting sponsorship for her hair-cut, and setting up a GoFundMe page.

By last week, Laura’s GoFundMe initiative had raised an impressive €4,600 which she plans to donate to Marymount Hospice.

But Laura said: “I expect it to increase further — my ambition is to raise €5,000.”

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