A cancer patient has been given a heartwarming boost after complete strangers donated their hair in order to provide her with a wig during chemotherapy.
Britany Ek said she was facing a $10,000 (£7,600) bill in order purchase a custom hairpiece - something her family simply couldn’t afford.
After her friend, Allison Mawhinney, caught wind of Britany’s struggles, she reached out to Hair Couture Designs in Camarillo, California, in search of a solution.
The studio specialises in making custom-made wigs for the likes of alopecia and cancer suffers, and, having seen how impactful losing her blonde flowing locks had been to Britany, 36, owner Connie Walsh agreed to make the wig for the price Britany’s insurance would pay out - if Allison could source the hair.
In order to make the wig, Connie required at least five blonde ponytails of around 15 inches in length.
Allison and Britany are members of a Facebook group for new mothers - though they joke that they are not so new to motherhood anymore - so Allison decided to reach out to that 200-strong community for help.
In the past, Allison said, the group have rallied together to provide thousands of dollars for charity, as well as the likes of air miles, so that members can visit sick relatives.
Allison, 35, who lives in Florida, said: “A wig is obviously a small detail in the scheme of things for a young mother diagnosed with cancer.
“But it offered our group a chance to do something tangible for Britany to make her life a little brighter.
“When Britany was diagnosed with breast cancer, the entire mum group was stunned. It could have been any of us.“
Members of the group reached out to friends, colleagues, salons and community groups in order to find hair for Britany’s wig.
Eventually, Allison was able to source hair from seven donors - none of whom had even met Britany, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in January.
Donors included a teacher with long, waist-length hair; a father and daughter; and two young mothers.
Connie agreed to use the remaining hair, free-of-charge, to make wigs for children with cancer and alopecia.
Britany, a mother of three from Camarillo, California, said: “Everyone thinks it’s awesome.
“My kids asked how I got my hair back the day I came home with it on.
“I went in to the salon that day and she [Connie] put it on me and I started crying.
“It looks and feels so real that I finally felt like myself again for the first time in months.“
Allison said: “I think our whole mum group was in tears when we first saw Britany in her wig.
“It’s hard to explain the difference between other wigs and Hair Couture’s creations - they look absolutely real.
“Connie took a video of Britany twirling in a circle with her brand new hair flowing.
“We had not seen that beaming smile on Britany’s face since she was diagnosed.”