I have an iPhone 5. It’s brilliant. I was given it as a free upgrade because my contract was up just at the right time. I’m writing this post on the free app that I downloaded through my wifi (named ‘Frontline Infantry’ in memory of Keifer Sutherland’s appearance in the Simpsons – which I watched on my cable 42″ hi-def plasma TV) and broadband Internet connection.
I wake up each morning in a warm bed, despite it being the middle of a frigid Scottish winter. I have a hot shower because I want to be clean, make an Italian coffee to feel awake and then read the Guardian to be informed. I pack my work uniform in a nice rucksack, throw it over a muscular and manly shoulder and head out to a job that I do not hate.
I’m lucky. If you’re reading this, chances are, you are too.
One of the few broken slabs of my yellow brick road to happiness is that just over five years ago, I developed type 1 diabetes. For those who aren’t familiar with it, this is a very serious disease that is fatal if untreated. Fortunately for me though, a group of people got together and decided it wasn’t right that I should die due to this and thus I get all my required medication provided for free by the government. So I’m not going to die anytime soon. Lucky.
Cancer is a disease where a lot of people aren’t so lucky. Oh, granted, every single cancer patient in this country is now luckier than they ever used to be. Treatments advance, survival rates go up. Cancer might still be a monstrous wolf, stalking us throughout our whole lives (it’s a biological fact that if we all live long enough, each and every one of us will eventually get some sort of cancer), but lately it’s starting to look slightly long in the tooth; slightly grey, slightly slighter than it was in its prime. It’ll still kill us at a moments notice if it can, but we might just about stand a chance against it now.
Still though, there are horrific side effects, including that horrifically iconic look of chemo patients, stripped of every hair on their bodies, bald in a manner neither aged and distinguished, nor chosen and stylish. You see them a mile off, and it’s difficult not to stare for a moment.
Grown people, most of them anyway, have a life’s worth of lessons, experience and mettle to be able to understand, accept and withstand this mark for as long as they must in order to wrestle their wolf to the ground. Children though, don’t always have it in them to be as strong. While adult interest is macabre and muted by politeness, rarely direct and obvious, children’s reactions to difference and abnormality is uncensored, unrestrained and intentionally or not, very often cruel.
A bald child has nowhere to hide, no way to explain and no steel to survive the open stares, questions and shouts of its peers. God forbid one nasty child thinks its weird, disgusting or funny for then scores more will add their voice to its in a way that can destroy an isolated cancer sufferer.
One group of people, though, decided that, as it was not right for diabetes to go unmedicated or cancer to go unresisted, nor was it right for these children to suffer at the hands of a society that, try as we might, still does not readily accept that which is different. These people call themselves The Little Princess Trust and exist as a non-profit charity dedicated to creating human-hair wigs for children, boys and girls, who have lost hair due to cancer, alopecia and other conditions. They have the means to give each child who applies to them one wig; a single, strong, appreciated shield against the feeling of isolation, despair and unhappiness that can be wrecked upon a child undergoing the physical, mental and emotional battle that cancer ambushes then into.
To so this, they need direct donations. They need money and, all importantly, they need human hair.
This Christmas, in an act of generosity designed to change one little warriors life for the better, my wife is cutting off her hair in order to donate it to The Little Princess Trust. She is asking for donations in order to support the trust in its endeavours, operations and crafting process. If you would like to join myself and countless others in supporting this wonderful and worthwhile cause, please visit https://www.justgiving.com/Sorcha-Neville/ and donate whatever you can. It will change a young child’s life for the better, at the time of year when miracles are needed most.
I’m proud of you, Pixie. X