Belfast lawyer Mairs donates hair for child with cancer
A solicitor known for his trademark long hair is set to get it all cut off to make a wig for a child with cancer.
Andrew Mairs (39) is used to being on the receiving end of banter about his unconventional hairstyle, but one remark in particular left its mark on the Belfast man.
While visiting the Belfast Cancer Centre to help a client write a will, a nurse commented on Andrew's flowing locks and mentioned how it could benefit a sick child.
Andrew, who practices domestic and criminal law with Keenan Solicitors in Belfast, said he was taken aback by the comment at the time, but couldn't get it out of his mind.
As a result, he decided to grow his hair as long as he can to donate to the Little Princess Trust while also raising funds for Cancer Research UK.
By an amazing coincidence, he met the nurse in Belfast's City Hospital on the 20th anniversary of his late dad's death from cancer there.
"I was asked to do a will and it was urgent and my client was in the high dependency unit in the City Hospital," said Andrew.
"It was 20 years to the day that my father died of Hodgkin's Lymphoma in the same unit and I had never been back since, so I was a bit stressed out at being there in the first place.
"The nurse was lovely and a straight talker. She got into the lift with me and said, 'That's a great head of hair you have'.
"I'm used to hearing this all the time and joked back, 'I grow it myself'. I wasn't ready for her reply, which was that I should donate it to one of the charities which make wigs for the patients who have to have chemotherapy.
"I went about my business, thinking of all the comments over the past five years since I grew my hair. And because of my dad's anniversary it left me very reflective and I guess she sowed the seed."
Andrew said he has always liked his hair long and first grew it when he went to university. He then got it cut and grew it back five years ago.
He described it as unruly and said it has raised comments wherever he goes.
"I know Alison Clarke and she loves my hair and always says she wants my hair, whereas my mother thinks it is ridiculous," he said.
"I have a thick head of hair that is very hard to control and judges have looked at me over the years, especially when it has got wet on the way to court and dried in a frizz ball. I have a friend who works at Urban Hair on the Lisburn Road and when I told her about the nurse's comments she said she knew how to harvest my hair and that helped me to decide to go ahead and donate it.
"I've been growing it as long as I can over the summer months."
Andrew also set up a Justgiving page and hopes to raise £3,500 before getting his hair shaved off in four weeks' time.
His hair currently hangs below his shoulders and will be put into four plaits and then cut off at the roots and shaved.
He added: "I hope the hair and the money will make a difference in the near future to the people who perhaps today are about to fight this difficult battle."
You can support Andrew by donating through his page at www.justgiving.com/andrew-mairs