Generous Masha is queen of the crop

Masha Allan after her charity haircut
Masha Allan after her charity haircut
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A South Queensferry woman is sporting a stylish new haircut after donating 16 inches of her hair to the Little Princess Trust — raising money for two children’s charities in the process.

Masha Allan, 31, a project officer working for gas distribution company SGN in Edinburgh, has had long hair for as long as she can remember, but decided to take the plunge and have it cut off after a friend’s daughter was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer.

Her donation will be used by the trust to make real hair wigs for children who have lost their own hair through cancer treatment and other illnesses.

Masha said: “In April, my friend’s six-year-old daughter Kaleigh was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a type of brain cancer with no known cure.

“Another friend’s son suffers from a debilitating and potentially life-limiting condition known as Mitochondrial Disease. I felt that, compared to what they were going through, losing my hair wasn’t a big deal.

“Although I decided to ‘go for the chop’ back in April, I wanted to grow my hair for another six months to get it as long as possible.

“I can’t deny I was nervous leading up to the big day, but when something like that happens to your friends, it was a small sacrifice to make.

“The reaction from everyone has been really positive, although I have had to put up with a few Sinead O’Connor jokes.

“My five-year-old daughter has been going round telling anyone who will listen that her mum has had her hair cut off and that she’s going to grow her own hair so that she can help the other children.”

Friends, SGN employees and family have also donated more than £1400 and she plans to split the money raised between two organisations: The Lily Foundation, a charity founded in memory of eight-month-old Lily Curtis, who lost her battle with Mitochondrial Disease, and Kaleigh’s Trust, a website set up by Masha’s friend to highlight his daughter’s battle with DIPG and help other families affected by the condition.

Thanking everyone for their support, Masha went on: “The response has been overwhelming. The current amount raised through sponsorship from friends, family and colleagues stands at £1435 and that, coupled with a £500 donation from SGN’s Into Action fund [which supports colleagues who help charities or their local community], has brought the total to almost £2000. Mashe added: “I am in awe at how generous and supportive everyone has been.”

Masha’s friend Scott, who is Kaleigh’s father, has set up a petition calling for research into DIPG brain tumours to be increased. Anyone who is interested in signing it can visit www.petition.parliament.uk/petitions/131556.