It took 11-year-old Ashton Attew more than three years to grow his hair out, and about three seconds to lop it off.
Ashton sacrificed his long locks on Saturday as a donation for a Vancouver wig shop that was burgled last month, a theft in which the store lost scores of hairpieces meant for kids with cancer.
Ashton’s hair journey started years ago when his grandmother was battling cancer. When she lost her hair, his mom went to a wig maker to offer up her own hair, only to be turned down.
“The wig maker actually said, ‘I don’t want your hair, but I’ll take his hair, though,’ and it wasn’t that long. And so since that day on I’ve started growing out my hair and I haven’t cut it in three years,” Ashton told Global News.
His father, Jason Attew, said Ashton made the decision to pull the trigger on his hair after learning about the September break-in at Eva and Co. Wigs.
WATCH: Help pours in for children hit by wig store theft
“A lot of the wigs were going to kids his age,” said Jason. “He said, ‘Now I want to make a difference in these kids lives and put a smile on their face as they fight this incredible fight.'”
“Ashton’s already experienced a taste of what cancer can do; his nana passed away about four years ago, so it was his mission to make a difference as it relates to other people fighting this terrible, tenacious, indiscriminate disease. We’re very proud of him.”
After the barber lopped off his ponytail and gave Ashton a shiny new ‘do, the Attew family took the hair down to Eva and Co. in person, where manager Francis Rae was thrilled to accept it.
“It’s wonderful, I love when kids come in with hair donations. It makes all the difference in the world,” Rae said, adding that the company wouldn’t be able to produce wigs for cancer patients without the generosity of the public.
WATCH: Valuable wigs for B.C. cancer patients stolen
The donations allow Eva and Co. to produce wigs for young patients at a reduced price, which is covered by the volunteer-run Wigs for Kids program that operates out of BC Children’s Hospital.
She said despite an outpouring of support in the wake of the burglary, the company is still playing catch-up.
“Some of the wigs were returned that were stock pieces that we had made in the shop,” Rae said, “but the custom orders for people and the kids wigs that we made out of donated hair we didn’t get back.”
As for Ashton, getting used to short hair will take some time, but he said it’s worth it if it will help some of his peers.