BY JACKIE KEOGH
AT first, they refused to take her hair because it was dyed, so Kathleen Leonard spent the next four years growing the colour out and making sure it was long enough to be of maximum benefit to the Rapunzel Foundation.
Kathleen was relieved of her tresses at a packed gathering in Bushe’s Bar in Baltimore recently, and the €1,231 raised on the night will be used to buy new defibrillator pads and enough batteries to last three years.
The fact that the event – which helps the charitable organisation to improve the lives of those living with hair loss – coincided with Kathleen’s 50th birthday celebrations was just icing on the cake.
It takes an estimated 20 to 25 ‘pig tails’ for the New Zealand-based foundation to make a wig, and Kay Wright, the freelance hair stylist, was on hand to make sure the best length was taken.
Newly shorn Kathleen, who lives in Reengaroga, told The Southern Star: ‘It was good to mark my birthday in this way, and I’m glad that so much was donated to the Baltimore Community First Responders.’
Gwen Lanigan-O’Keeffe started the First Responders group in 2004 and following their first fundraiser – a masked ball with casino night in the old Baltimore Harbour Hotel – they purchased two AED units.
The HSE provided the necessary training, and the group continues to meet on a monthly basis for first aid refresher training and to practise their CPR skills. Last year, the volunteers responded to eight call-outs and there have been two more so far in January.
There are 20 volunteers and more are always welcome, call 087 6853014.