Child grows locks to help others

Oliver Metz-Strauss plans to donate 25 centimetres of his hair to children with hair loss

Although Oliver Metz-Strauss has been wearing nearly 25 centimetres of hair for some time now, he’ll soon be sporting a decidedly shorter look.

That’s because the seven-year-old Riverdale resident is planning to donate his fulsome locks to Angel Hair for Kids, a charity that makes wigs for kids dealing with hair loss due to a medical condition or treatment.

“Both of us are unbelievably proud and inspired,” says mum Rochelle Strauss of herself and Oliver’s other mother, Rosanne Metz.

Even so, they admit they’re not quite sure where he got the idea.

“It was very spontaneous and out of the blue for us,” Strauss says. “I picked him up from school at the beginning of last year, when he was in grade one. I made some offhand remark about it being time to get his hair cut and he informed me he was growing it out to give it to charity.

“To this day we’re not entirely sure (where it came from).”

As well as growing his hair, Oliver is trying to raise some cash for the charity as well.

It takes approximately $1,000 to make a wig and he’s aiming to raise half that. He’s already been making regular contributions from his allowance to a charity piggy bank and he’s hoping to raise enough from family and friends to help meet his goal.

“It’s remarkable because of his age, but also because it came from him,” Strauss says. “It wasn’t something we encouraged or asked him to do. It was entirely self-directed.”

By the end of January, the long-awaited haircut will be performed by a stylist, herself a cancer survivor.

Though the second grader has been determined, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing.

He’s had to deal with occasional jabs from peers who say he looks like a girl.

But they don’t get him down easily.

“People who haven’t met me before, most of them call me a girl,” he said. “I just go with the flow. I correct them. It’s no big deal on me.”

Oliver said so far he’s raised $300 from his parents, and he plans to hand out flyers to raise more.

The fact he takes the barbs in his stride and keeps the goal in mind is just further proof of character, Strauss says.

“To persevere through 20 months of growing his hair and being called a girl and all that stuff — it shows a lot of strength of character for him and that makes us proud and inspired.”

Angel Hair for Kids is a program affiliated with a Child’s Voice Foundation, a national non-profit that creates and manages initiatives that provide help for financially disadvantaged children.

Check the February edition of the Town Crier for the after the haircut photos of Oliver.

About this article:

By: Joshua Freeman
Posted: Jan 18 2011 3:28 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto