The big chop: husband raises £15k in honour of his late wife… by having his hair cut!

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The big chop: husband raises £15k in honour of his late wife… by having his hair cut!

Martin Kaye, of Mill Hill, raised money for Chai Cancer Care and Bowel Cancer UK

Louisa Walters is Features Editor at the Jewish News and specialises in food and travel writing

Martin Kaye, who lost his wife Michelle to bowel cancer earlier this year, has raised money for Chai Cancer Care and Bowel Cancer UK, two charities that supported her while she was ill, by having a sponsored haircut.

Michele was a regular client at Kink Hair Salon in Mill Hill and yesterday Martin, who grew his hair as long as his wife’s during lockdown, had it cut and raised £15k across his own Just Giving page and one belonging to the hair salon in the process.

Kaye before his haircut

Kaye said: “Over the Covid period, like everyone else I had no choice but to let my hair grow but after, when we were told we could go back to the hairdressers, I decided to continue to let it grow for charity and to donate it in Michele’s name. It was very emotional when the day came to have my hair cut as this was the last event that Michele and I planned together. Waking up this morning was weird as I went to get a hair band but I didn’t need one! It’s a relief to have all the hair off and I’m pleased it’s gone to a good cause. Theo worked very hard and I love my new haircut.”

Kaye’s hair will be made into a wig and given to a cancer victim who has lost their hair due to chemotherapy.

As his wife’s condition got worse, the couple were recommended to Chai Cancer Care. “In this safe haven,” writes Kaye on his JustGiving page, “Michele was able to receive complimentary therapies to help her as well as counselling. When you are living with someone who is terminally ill you try imagine how you are going to feel when they are not around but when the day comes when your loved one passes, the world that you knew and loved suddenly ends and all you are left with is pain, confusion and emptiness.”

Michele, third from left, with her daughters and Martin, on Charlotte’s wedding day. Pic: Charlotte Harari

He describes Chai as “an amazing support for our family”, not only while Michele was alive but “helping us rebuild our lives” and “manage that pain and grief as it doesn’t just go away over night”, Martin is appealing to friends, family and the wider community for “both of these fantastic causes so we can help other families to use the centre as their life line.”

Kink Hair Salon runs an annual ‘hairathon’ where staff work for free for the day to donate all monies raised to a charity. This year they ran the event in honour of their much-loved client Michele. Martin said that Kink Hair Salon was Michele’s “happy place, on good days and bad days”. Yesterday it was a happy place for all customers and staff as they gathered round to watch Martin have his hair cut by salon owner Theo Silveston.

Kink Hair Salon owner Theo Silveston cutting Kaye’s hair

The JustGiving pages are still live and all proceeds will be split evenly between Bowel Cancer UK and Chai Cancer Care. “Although we want to eliminate cancer, sometimes we can’t cure but we can help. Please give whatever you can,” says Martin.

You can sponsor Martin’s haircut on his page here.

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