IT WAS the result of three years’ hard work - and it took just minutes to shave off!
When Stephanie Squires submitted to the scissors for a charity headshave, she was saying goodbye to luscious locks which measured a whopping 23 inches in length.
But it was all for a good cause - as the stunt has already raised more than £1,300 in donation pledges, which will help pay for specialist physiotherapy sessions for High Green youngster Matthew Adams.
The six-year-old was left severely brain damaged after suffering encephalitis - an infection of the brain - when he was just six months old.
Stephanie, who is best friends with Matthew’s mum Leila, wanted to do something to contribute towards the intense therapy which is helping Matthew develop in ways his devoted family were once told he never would.
Family and friends of the Woolley Wood school pupil came together for the head shave at Hullaballoo’s indoor play centre in High Green, where 39-year-old Steph took the plunge.
Leila said: “She was a little bit nervous beforehand but I think she was pleased afterwards that she had gone through with it!
“Looking in the mirror was a bit of a shock but I’ve spoken to her since and I think she is getting used to it.
“She’s planning to dye it a bright colour, I think, to please the kids!”
All money raised at the event will go towards Matthew’s work with the Cerebral Palsy Physiotherapy Centre.
Although the facility is based in Luton, a therapist travels to South Yorkshire to work with him at home. But Leila and husband Steven have to foot the bill for travel and accommodation expenses, along with the cost of the treatment.
The therapist works with him on a host of different areas including sitting, reaching and standing, using various methods to develop and strengthen his muscles, flexibility and balance.
Matthew’s problems appeared out of the blue when he was six months old and was struck down with a mystery infection which travelled to his brain, causing irreversible damage.
The infection could have been caused by something as innocent as a kiss from someone with a cold sore, since it took the same form as the herpes virus.
Initially, after treatment at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, Matthew made good progress - but after a week back home his condition began to deteriorate and he was re-admitted for three months.
An MRI scan revealed the extensive damage to his brain, which resulted in his developmental progress reverting.
Now the intense physiotherapy is helping to work on the problems he was left with - and the results have amazed his family.
Leila said: “He receives the treatment twice a year and the difference it has made has been remarkable.”
She said she was eternally grateful to Steph, who travelled from her home in Lincolnshire for the event.
“I’m blown away by what Steph has done to help us fund more of this treatment for him. She has been such a star, right from when Matthew got ill, and now to do this is absolutely amazing,” she said. “There’s no words to describe what she has done for him.”
Email Leila at firstname.lastname@example.org to sponsor Steph or to help with fundraising for future treatment for Matthew.