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Chops to go ... Gore truck driver Bryan Barbour will shave his hair and whiskers to raise money for the Neonatal Trust, which provided care and support when his daughter Eden (23 months) was born prematurely in 2017. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

“Chopper”, aka Bryan Barbour, is about to pay it forward and lose his trademark mutton chop moustache and sideburns.

Next month the Gore truck driver will take a close shave to raise money for the Neonatal Trust, which provided care and support when his daughter was born prematurely two years ago.

His wife, Kristy, said her husband was well known for his facial hair.

“They’ve become quite iconic, especially amongst the trucking community.

“He even got the nickname Chopper because of them and we’d quite often be out .. and people would come over and comment on how amazing his chops are,” Mrs Barbour said.

Mr Barbour said he grew the whiskers in 2014 as part of a Movember competition.

He was quite fond of the new look.

“That’s why I kept them.”

The fundraiser idea developed out of a conversation recently when friends asked if he would ever shave his whiskers off.

Mr Barbour replied no.

However, when he was asked if he would shave them off for charity, he said maybe.

When Mrs Barbour mentioned the Neonatal Trust as a possible charity he did not hesitate.

“They did so much for Eden,” Mr Barbour said.

“We just want to raise awareness for the Neonatal Trust because it’s amazing what they do and it’s amazing what they give to families of babies in those [neonatal] units,” Mrs Barbour said.

If it hadn’t been for them [Gore Hospital] and their quick actions as a team, there’s no way on earth that Eden and I would be alive.

When Mrs Barbour was 32 weeks’ pregnant she was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia. Her symptoms were not typical of the condition, which made it hard to treat.

About a week later she woke up on June 7 feeling unwell.

“It was like I was drugged or drunk.”

As her condition worsened she drove herself to Gore Hospital.

“It was a good thing that I did because I got there just in time.

“I got to the front desk and collapsed on the floor and in total I took four major convulsions and one huge seizure.”

The hospital staff moved fast.

“If it hadn’t been for them and their quick actions as a team, there’s no way on Earth that Eden and I would be alive.”

Once she was stabilised she was rushed to Southland Hospital.

Eden was born by Caesarean section a short time afterand spent a week in an incubator and a further two weeks in the hospital’s neonatal unit.

Mr Barbour spent the next three days helping the nurses take care of Eden while Mrs Barbour recovered.

“[He was] trying to be a dad to his newborn premature baby and a husband to me in intensive care, so it was quite a stressful time.”

The nurses in the unit were very impressed with Eden.

“She came out with a lot of feist.

“The nurses loved her down at the unit because she had a bit of attitude.

“She would lie there and kick the side of her incubator and wave her hands around.

“She was just so alert for a little baby.”

The Neonatal Trust was wonderful at this time, Mrs Barbour said.

“They provide a lot of support and equipment.

“They help fund research into better care for our prem babies.”

Although many people knew a parent who had spent time in neonatal care, not many people were aware of the Neonatal Trust, she said.

Mr Barbour’s hair and whiskers will be shaved off by Hi B hair dresser Sarah Stevenson on June 28, which is the anniversary of Eden coming home.

Mrs Barbour said she would livestream the event.

“There will be a lot of people that know him that will want to see it happen.”

  • Bryan and Kristy Barbour hope to raise $1500 for the NeoNatal Trust by shaving off Bryan’s hair and whiskers. If anyone wants to give to the cause they can search Chopping Bryans Chops on the Givealittle website.