Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 November 2019

Dubai pupil known as 'Rapunzel' donates half-metre of hair to cancer charity

Six-year-old Mishika Jaine has 58cm of hair lopped off to help children battling cancer

Mishika Jain, pictured with her mother, Neha, had her first hair cut for a charitable cause. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Mishika Jain, pictured with her mother, Neha, had her first hair cut for a charitable cause. Chris Whiteoak / The National

A Dubai school pupil affectionately known as Rapunzel went to great lengths for a worthy cause by giving her precious locks the chop.

To mark her first ever haircut in style, Mishika Jain, 6, who never allows anyone to even touch her hair, bypassed a simple trim and instead waved goodbye to 58cm of hair on Monday.

The Delhi Private School Dubai pupil then donated her jet black locks to the Friends of Cancer Patients charity in Sharjah via Hair for Hope India, a charity that provides wigs for those fighting cancer.

In front of a hall full of fellow classmates, Mishika stood patiently as her mother, Neha, took a pair of scissors to her hair.

“The last time Mishika had a trim was when she was just three months old,” Neha told The National.

“I was crying as I did it.

“Every morning Mishika and I would sit down for 20 minutes to brush and style her hair and just chat.

“I’ll really miss that mother and daughter time but I know what she did means more than anything to her.”

Mishika was inspired to carry out the kind gesture after watching a movie. In it, the main character was a young boy living with progeria, a rare genetic defect that causes accelerated ageing and hair loss.

“She asked many questions about why an old man was going to school,” Ms Jain said.

“Mishika was curious to know why he looked the way he did and wanted to know what had happened to his hair.

“My husband and I explained that some people have certain diseases that change their appearance and sometimes they lose their hair...we could tell she was curious to help.”

And days later, after returning from school, she said she wanted to cut her hair.

“We asked her why and she said she wanted to put a smile on someone’s face,” said Ms Jain.

After reaching out to Premi Mathew, founder of Hair for Hope India, the date was set in the diary.

And since getting her new look, Mishika said it has become “exhausting” having to tell people why she did it.

“For three days straight now people having been telling me how brave I was to cut my hair, they really appreciate me,” Mishika said.

Mishika Jain was nicknamed Rapunzel by school riends due to her long hair.    
Mishika Jain was nicknamed Rapunzel by school riends due to her long hair.    

“I tell them I did it to make sick people happy again.”

On her wall at home, she even has posters made by friends congratulating her for the charitable deed.

“Now I will grow my hair all the way down to my feet and gift it to someone else who is fighting cancer,” she said.

In a few days, all 58cm of Mishika’s hair will be sent to the UK to be made into a wig before returning to Sharjah to be gifted to a needy patient.

Human hair wigs can cost upwards of Dh400 in the UAE. With many patients unable to afford them, they often resort to buying cheaper alternatives, which are synthetic and uncomfortable to wear.

Hair for Hope India aims to create awareness about hair donations across the country and works with registered organisations to ensure donated hair reaches those most in need during their time of need. The minimum hair donation is 12 inches with Mishika nearly doubling that.

In 2018, two brothers shaved their hair in support of people battling cancer.

Rishi Balakrishnan, 9, and his brother Rohan, 6, agreed to lop off their long locks in solidarity with a school pal, whose mother was undergoing chemotherapy at the time.

After 18 months of dedicated growing, the trio donated more than 30cm of hair each, which was eventually turned into wigs for chemotherapy patients.

Updated: November 7, 2019 08:12 AM

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