Boy who was bullied for having long hair donates it to cancer charity

Ben Sarak has been growing his hair for almost 3 years so that he can donate it to the Little Princess Trust Credit: Natasha Sarak

A 12-year-old boy who has been bullied and attacked in the street for having long hair, is donating his locks to a cancer charity.

Ben Sarak, from Middleton in Greater Manchester, set himself the challenge of growing his hair long during lockdown, after seeing others donate to the Little Princess Trust.

But over the last few years, his mum says he's been the victim of verbal and physical abuse simply because of his waist-length hair, which he often wears in a man bun style.

Ben with his mum Natasha Credit: Natasha Sarak

“It’s heartbreaking for me,” mum-of-two Natasha said. “As a mum, I was devastated. Everyone knows what a sweet boy Ben is.

“He’s learned to laugh when he’s called a girl and walk away. He’s kept at it, but he can’t wait to get it cut so it’s been a challenge.”

Ben decided to start growing his hair when he was unable to get it cut due to coronavirus restrictions in 2020.

Ben has been verbally and physically abused for having long hair Credit: Natasha Sarak

His aim was to donate his locks to the Little Princess Trust, a charity which provides real hair wigs, free of charge, to children and young people who have lost their own hair through cancer.

Alongside donating his hair, the St Monicas High School pupil is hoping to raise money for The Fed, a social care charity for the Greater Manchester Jewish Community.

Ben chose the charity because his great grandfather Gerry was looked after at Heathlands Village Jewish care home for three years.

Ben before he started growing his hair Credit: Natasha Sarak

Ben's mum Natasha, who works as a community fundraiser, says her son has endured a lot of abuse but he's been determined to grow his hair so that he could donate it.

“He’s always been called names,” she added. “He’s got a lovely face; he’s pretty so he always gets called a girl, whether people are being mean or not. We will go into a café and he will get called madam. He’ll say, ‘I’m a boy!’

“The first time he was attacked was when he was walking home from school and three people caught him and were pulling on his hair, calling him a girl and pushing him around.

Ben with his mum Natasha after having the hair cut off Credit: Natasha Sarak

“Then in St Mary’s Park in Prestwich a kid started following him around with a rock saying, ‘Are you a girl?’ and punched him in the face.

“He’s had a couple of incidents, but you know what, he’s grown a really thick skin about it. It’s just so heartbreaking.

“It makes me really proud because at any moment he could have asked me to book him in at the hairdresser to get it cut off, but he never did. He kept on going. I have to be strong for him in front of him and tell him he’s better than [the bullying] and that it’s okay.”

Credit: Natasha Sarak

Ben is booked in to get his hair cut on January 21, so far raising £1,135 of his £1,500 target. Anyone wishing to donate can do so by clicking here.

Speaking to ITV Granada Reports, Ben said he's so glad that he could do something worthwhile:

On his fundraiser page, the youngster said: “I have been growing my hair for three years now, there have been times I have just wanted to get it cut but I kept going because I know how important this will be and I’m so proud that I made it this far.

“I want to raise money for The Fed because my great grandpa Gerry was looked after at Heathlands Village for 3 years. The staff were amazing and friendly, and we knew he was being looked after so well. I had a really close and special bond with my grandpa, so I am doing this in his honour and memory.”

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