Fiona McTier’s new hairstyle post cutting her hair for charity.

By Aleksandra Bliszczyk

A KILMORE Caladenia Nursing Home resident has raised more than $1300 for Variety Children’s Charity by cutting and donating her hair, which will be made into a wig for someone living with a medical condition that causes hair loss.

Staff and residents gathered to watch and applaud Fiona McTier’s chop on Wednesday morning.

As preparation, her hair was plaited and fastened with elastic bands at both ends. The cut plait measured 45 centimetres, which took three years to grow.  

“My hair is an offer of support, self-confidence and to let someone know you’re not alone – I’ve been there and you can get through it,” Ms McTier said.

Ms McTier’s daughter lives with a disability, which she said gave her a deep understanding of the affect a medical condition can have on a young person’s self-esteem.

Her daughter once represented Victoria at Special Olympics Australia in swimming, and today lives in Broadford with her husband and two children.

“I want to help the kids today because they have a pretty tough time,” she said.

Variety Australia works with children all over the world living with illness or disability or face financial disadvantage, but the money raised by Ms McTier will go towards its Hair with Heart campaign, which funds wig-making, therapy for children with medical hair loss, and the Variety Alopecia Areata Adventure Camp.

Alopecia Areata is a treatable but incurable autoimmune disease that occurs when the immune system attacks hair follicles, and it can affect people of all ages.

Her new hairstyle, which Ms McTier said made her feel immediately lighter, was courtesy of Kilmore hairdresser Rachel Barber of Rachel’s Hairdressing, who donated her time.

It was the first time a Caladenia resident has cut their hair for charity, and the first charity event the home had hosted since COVID-19 restrictions eased, which staff described as exciting for everyone.