Child in Foster Care Responds to Tragedy by Helping Others

Posted on 11 December 2015 by Louise Carson

A young girl with long brown hair outside in the garden.

Sometimes it takes the selfless act of a child to remind us that there is good in the world.

A child like Sophia*, who recently donated her hair to Variety’s Alopecia Program.

Sophia, who is nine years old and lives in foster care, was visiting her sick Grandad in hospital when she first saw a poster calling for donations of hair.

“Grandad had been Sophia’s main carer until he became ill and had to leave home for treatment interstate”, said Rona, Sophia's case worker.

“We heard that he was deteriorating quickly so Sophia and I travelled to Melbourne from New South Wales to enable her to say good-bye to him."

While at the hospital, Sophia saw a poster asking for hair donations for children who have lost theirs. Rona and Sophia discussed it further on their trip home. Sophia commented that it "would be a lovely thing to do for others".

The following week, Rona had to break the devastating news to Sophia that her Grandad had passed away. He had been the most stable person in her life, her protector, her carer for so long and now her world would never be the same.

Despite her grief, Sophia kept talking about donating her hair so -- with the assistance of her foster carer-- Sophia researched the process and decided it was definitely something she wanted to do.

Armed with the correct paperwork and instructions, Sophia had 30cm of her hair cut off.

Variety’s alopecia program provides kids, who have lost their hair due to illness, with access to specialised wigs made out of donated human hair. These wigs can cost up to $5,000, which is often too expensive for many families. Sophia chose this program because she did not wish “children who don’t have hair to be bullied, so this will help them”.

“What amazes me, is in the worst week of her life to date she still wished to help others”, said Rona.

“She knew she could do something to help and did it. I find this inspirational and it truly reflects her caring soul.”

Sophia's amibition is to one day become a nurse. We couldn't think of a more suitable career for this amazingly kind-hearted and empathetic young lady. 

At her Grandad’s funeral, Sophia asked Rona if she thought her Grandad would like her new hair? Rona's reply was a resounding "Yes!" and she added "he would be so proud of you too.”

Everyone at MacKillop is also incredibly proud of Sophia. Her courage and compassion in the face of tragedy has been a source of inspiration to us all... and when she becomes a nurse her patients are going to have the best care in the hospital. 

*Name has been changed and a model image used to protect privacy.