RURAL RAPUNZEL: 20-year-old donating her hair to charity
PATIENCE and determination are two qualities Amy Birch embodies.
She has proved this by growing her waist-length hair for almost 20 years with the goal of donating it.
Her persistence has put the 20-year-old Monto woman in a good position as she has embarked on a five-year study in vet science, all the while helping her family run its droughtmaster stud.
In May, the rural Rapunzel will let down her hair for the big chop at Beef Australia 2018 in Rockhampton.
Her locks will be converted into wigs for alopecia and cancer sufferers.
"I decided at a young age that if I did cut my hair I would do it for cancer and it was just a matter of deciding when,” she said.
"I chose a bob because it is such a dramatic length compared to what I have now and I think people still consider under shoulder length to be quite long.
"My mum was a bit shocked at first because of how short I wanted to go.”
The last time she had her hair in a bob was when she was two.
Since then she's only had the occasional trim to keep it healthy.
Amy grew up on the 809ha family stud and now resides in Gatton where she is in her second year of her vet science degree.
"Getting back home after a long term is so good,” she said.
"It's such a demanding course (so) doing some manual labour instead of mental labour really reminds me of why I'm doing what I'm doing.
"My favourite thing about growing up on the farm is being around the animals every day and the open space.”
Amy said moving from the property to UQ Gatton was a different experience.
"I was living on campus last year for my first year and was in a tiny room,” she said.
"As soon as you leave the room you're in a public area and there's always something going on so it was a little difficult to adapt to the level of noise and other activity.”
She's excited to put her new skills to use when she finished her degree.
"I chose this course on my gap year, I wanted to study health and almost chose dentistry but I realised I could combine my passion for animals and health and chose vet science,” she said.
"I'll have the knowledge and skills to help my own family farm and other producers with their stock.
"I do have a big interest in artificial fertility, so looking at AI and embryo transfers.”
Amy and her family will make the trek to Beef Australia from their property between Eidsvold and Monto, with five of their stud droughtmasters.
"We've had droughtmasters my whole life, I love that they are such an adaptable breed, have high fertility and drought tolerance, and have a great temperament,” she said.
"Preparing them for big shows like Beef Australia takes a lot of work and that starts as soon as they're weaned, we break them in and increase their their diet so they have good weight gain, lots of effort goes into getting them ready.
"Depending on the time the event is on we can get up at 4.30am to get them washed, put on their good halters and get them through the crowds of people, it can be quite time consuming.”
The big snip will follow an auction of donated items.
"We've got a necklace with a nice droughtmaster pendant and a lot of other great things, and I'm so grateful for all of the donations,” she said.
Amy said it was a great feeling to know her hair and the money raised would be going to a good cause.
"Cancer is something that seems to impact almost everyone these days and it's something that is close to the hearts of a lot of people,” she said.
"I feel really excited that my hair will hopefully improve the self-esteem and happiness of kids or adults suffering from cancer or alopecia and that the money will go towards research and support.”
Amy said she was keen for her new look.
"I'm definitely excited for the easier maintenance, quicker drying time after washing it and wearing it in a few different ways instead of a plait all the time,” she said.
"I also use a lot of conditioner so I'm looking forward to my shampoo and conditioner depleting at roughly the same rate.”
Visti www.doitforcancer.com.au and search for Amy Birch to donate today.
Some of the businesses who have donated to the auction include:
Precision Engraving Rockhampton
Susie M Country Pics
Country Avenue - Handcrafts & Fashion Accessories