Medical photographer, Anne Nyyssonen, has grown her pigtails for more than eight years, but on 3 October, they will be coming off, raising money for a cancer charity and the hair going to a charity that provides real hair wigs to children with hair loss issues.
Anne, 38, who moved to Glasgow from Finland 12 years ago, is based at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, but her job takes her to hospitals across Greater Glasgow and Clyde. She knows just how important it is to help children in need. She said: “We regularly photograph patients who have lost their hair due to cancer treatment or different medical conditions, and it made me want to donate my hair.
“I’ve had my pigtails for such a long time that getting them cut does feel almost like losing a part of me, but it’s nothing compared to people with medical hair loss. I’m very happy and excited to do this for a good cause!”
Anne is also raising money for Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust to help raise awareness of cervical cancer and encourage people to talk about their gynaecological health. Anne had put off her own routine smear test, because she didn’t have symptoms, when she did have her appointment, the results revealed some changes.
Anne said: “I kept rereading the results letter in a bit of a shock. I had gone for smear tests for years and I was ashamed I didn’t know what all the words meant. I just knew I had what the test was looking for. The letter came with a leaflet developed by NHS Scotland and Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust and it explained what the results meant. Wanting to know more, I looked up Jo’s Trust’s website which gave clear answers and explained what the next step – a colposcopy – would entail.”
The results of the latest tests show that while Anne does not have any malignant cells, she has high-risk HPV, which means she is at higher risk of developing cervical cancer, and will have further smear tests more regularly.
Samantha Dixon, Chief Executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust: “We are immensely grateful to Anne for her fundraising efforts, and for braving the chop! We are really pleased that we could be there for Anne when she needed help understanding her cervical screening results. Receiving an abnormal result can be a really scary time but the money she has raised will mean that we can provide that same reassurance and comfort to many, many more.”
For Anne, the shock of having short hair is countered by the knowledge that her locks will go to children who need it.
She added: “In my job I’ve seen how devastating it can be to lose one’s hair due to cancer treatment or different medical conditions. If it’s hard for adults, it’s often even harder for children as their self-image and coping mechanisms are still developing.
“Being able to wear a real hair wig can help as it feels and looks more natural than a synthetic one. Because my hair is long, thick and healthy, it should be ideal material for long hair wigs which are especially in demand at Little Princess Trust. My hair will hopefully help children experiencing hair loss feel like all the other kids - and get as many compliments for their hair as I have received.
Wendy Tarplee-Morris, co-founder of charity, The Little Princess Trust, said: "We are incredibly grateful to Anne for her support of our charity. Her help means we can continue to provide real hair wigs, free of charge, to children and young people at a very difficult time in their lives.
“We know our wigs help to restore the confidence and identity of the young recipients but we can only provide this service thanks to the selfless acts of our brilliant supporters!”
You can donate to Anne’s fundraiser here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/farewell-to-pigtails
You can get more info about Jo’s Trust here: https://www.jostrust.org.uk
And more about the Little Princess Trust here: https://www.littleprincesses.org.uk/