Gift of hair spurred by own battle with illness

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Anouk Collins has first-hand experience of battling a disease at an early age, so she and her mother Sara wanted to help others facing health battles.

Anouk (9) and Ms Collins had their long hair cut during the school holidays.

Anouk was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis type 1 when she was 3 years old.

“When she was three and a-half they found a brain tumour on her optic nerve,” Ms Collins said.

Doctors waited six months to see if the tumour was developing slowly or if it was fast-growing.

“It actually grew quite fast back toward the brain.”

Anouk had a year of chemotherapy.

Being a twin helped Anouk battle her way through the treatment and illness, Ms Collins said.

Twin sister Katia was with her constantly and would often sleep with her, Ms Collins said.

“I think just having the closeness helped her recover.”

Ms Collins is a carrier of neurofibromatosis type 1, although she did not know that until she was pregnant with the twins.

Mother and daughter gave away the hair to wig-makers to help other people going through treatments that resulted in hair loss.

Katia had already had her long hair cut and had given it away to be made into wigs.

Anouk’s hair had been “down past her waist” before it was cut, Ms Collins said.

The exercise was also a fundraiser for the Child Cancer Foundation and treatment at Starship hospital, Ms Collins said.

The pair raised just over $1300.

The fundraiser did not close until October 30, Ms Collins said.

The pair were helped with their fundraising venture by Nicole Parry and the team at S’cape Hair and Day Spa.