Six-year-old Denae Kettle is a big fan of Rapunzel.
It's one of her all-time favorite stories, inspiring her to grow her hair long, just like the lead character in the Brothers Grimm fairy tale.
Unlike Rapunzel, whose towering braids of hair were cut by an evil witch under protest, Denae is entirely willing to shear off her long light brown locks, just to help out a little girl whose own hair fell out after receiving chemotherapy cancer treatments.
"My daughter has super-long hair and she never wanted it cut -- she's never been to the hairdresser before," said Samantha Kettle, Denae's mom.
"She came home on her birthday, Jan. 8, and told me she wants to give her hair to a little girl because she's sick and has no hair and I bawled for like an hour. It was heartbreaking because it was the first time she's mentioned anything like that. For her to notice someone like that on her birthday was very touching."
Samantha is still not sure which bald little girl inspired Denae, who attends kindergarten classes at Ecole Lac des Bois.
Samantha lost an aunt to cancer two years ago and that same year another aunt had a mastectomy as a result of breast cancer. Both daughter and mom have agreed to get their hair cut on Feb. 16.
"We have a lot of history with it," said Samantha, whose own hair touches the bottom of her back.
"I'll probably get my hair cut to the bottom of my bra strap, I think that's as short as I can go without crying, but my daughter wants her hair cut to her chin or shoulders. She's excited about it now, but her own personal world is Rapunzel and I hope she doesn't get upset."
Every year in northern B.C., more than 1,000 people are diagnosed with some form of cancer and Margaret Jones-Bricker, northern regional director of the Canadian Cancer Society, said many of those patients are either unaware of the wig bank and the wig service it offers.
"It's a gift people make to ensure that while people are going through a cancer journey their lives are a little bit easier," said Jones-Bricker.
"Losing one's hair can be very emotionally trying, so having an opportunity to select from a number of different wigs and hairstyles helps to boost your morale."
Hair samples must be at least 20 centimetres (eight inches) in length and wig hair can't be dyed, bleached or chemically-treated because it leaves the hair brittle and resistant to dyes applied to make wigs appear more like natural hair. Samantha's hair is dyed and she said that will probably rule her own hair out for a wig, but she still plans to get it cut.
Hair collected in Prince George will be sent to a wig manufacturer in Vancouver. Each wig requires between 25 and 30 donations and the finished product is usually worth several hundred dollars.
"Oftentimes when we do get gifts of hair, frequently they are children," said Jones-Bricker.
"I don't know if it's because children have that innate sense or they're so perceptive, but children often come forward."
Patients are matched with similar types of hair and a style is created according to what the patient wants. Hair donated in Prince George doesn't necessarily return to the city in wig form and Jones-Bricker says there's no way to track it.
Samantha and her family will be getting behind a Facebook campaign to help raise money for the event. People interested in donating hair or money should contact Marjo Van Helvoirt-Koop, the Canadian Cancer Centre's Prince George co-ordinator for annual giving, at 250-564-0885.