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An Ilford woman marked her 25th birthday by sacrificing her luxurious locks and going bald to raise money in memory of her dad.
Harpreet Kaur’s hair reached down to her waist, but she decided to lose the lot for the Stroke Association.
An online time-lapse video of her being shorn has now been watched almost 3,000 times and she has raised more than £5,500.
Harpreet, a project engineer for TFL, said she had initially planned simply to have her hair cut short and donate her 27-inch tresses to the Little Princess Trust, an organisation that creates wigs for children with cancer.
“I thought I would have it cut into a bob or a pixie style, then thought why don’t I go all the way? Why not brave the shave and raise some money for charity as well!
“Three days before my 19th birthday, my father Judge Singh passed away from a brain haemorrhage. So to commemorate turning 25 I decided to shave my head and raise money for the Stroke Association in his memory.”
Harpreet said the decision to go bald had not been taken lightly.
“In my religion you’re not supposed to have your hair cut because your hair is part of your identity. But selfless service is also a pillar of Sikhism and I thought that was important, especially as my hair will grow back,” she said.
“Some people said are you sure he would be happy with that, but I’m sure he would have been.
“The Stroke Association do a fantastic job of supporting people who survive strokes and I wanted to raise money for them. I can’t run fast, and I can’t climb but I can have my hair cut off.
“My hair was such a massive part of me. Some people said they would pay me not to do it.
“To take what people see as such an important part of me and get rid of it has been totally liberating.
“I keep forgetting I’ve had it cut off until I see my reflection in a mirror, and think oh my god, I’m bald. I’m wearing an extra woolly hat to keep warm.”
Harpreet said she had been wary of dating as she knew she would soon have a very different look which she thought would put most people off but things seemed to work out for the better with new boyfriend Alex, 27.
“I’d like to thank everyone who has sponsored me and Richmond Barbers who not only didn’t charge me but gave a donation to the charity,” said Harpreet.
To donate to “Harpreet’s Goodbye Hairpreet” go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/goodbye-hairpreet
Hannah Richards, regional fundraising manager for the Stroke Association, said: “In sacrificing her lovely long hair, Harpreet has done a truly remarkable thing in memory of her dad and we’re exceptionally grateful.
“The money that she has raised will fund the Stroke Association’s specialist support for stroke survivors and help us to rebuild even more lives.”
For more information about stroke and local support services for survivors and carers visit www.stroke.org.uk or call the Stroke Helpline on 0303 3033 100.
Watch the video now on the Stroke Association Twitter https://twitter.com/TheStrokeAssoc/status/1206524570351652864?s=20