— Rean Carter is a 5-year-old boy who’s experiencing the rush that can come from trying out a whole new look — and the satisfaction that can come from contributing to a worthy cause.
For his entire lifetime, his mother couldn’t bear to cut his blond hair. His soft, flowing curls grew longer ... and longer ... and longer.
“When Rean was born he had a lovely little curl of golden hair at the back of his head,” Rean’s mother, Leeanne Smith, told the BBC. “I just could never bear to get it cut, not even his fringe.”
Smith and her son were happy with his long locks for a long time — until recently, when Rean started school and kids started making fun of him for looking like a girl.
“I was doing the ironing and he began to cry,” Smith, 30, of Sunderland, England, told the Daily Mail newspaper. “He told me some of his friends had been nasty to him at school.
“Up until that point I just couldn’t bring myself to take him to the barber’s. ... But as soon as it started affecting Rean, I knew we had to do something about it.”
Smith made arrangements for Rean to pay a visit to his uncle’s barber shop, which happens to be called “Fellaz.” In a matter of minutes, Rean looked like a brand new boy.
“It must have been so heavy on his head,” Smith told the Sunderland Echo newspaper. “We put it in a bag and it weighs quite a bit. It’s unbelievable.
“It now takes a couple of minutes to do his hair too, rather than having to shampoo and condition it and then de-tangle it all.”
Rean showed up at school this week with his new look. His classmates crowded around him supportively; teachers called him “gorgeous” and said he looked “fantastic.”
School officials had been requiring Rean to tie his hair back for health and safety reasons. Now Rean has used all that hair to raise more than $500 for the children’s unit at Sunderland Royal Hospital. In 2010, Rean had to receive four weeks of care there for a skin infection called impetigo.
To raise money for the children’s unit, Rean asked friends and family members to sponsor him as encouragement to go through with his haircut.
Rean’s mother said she’s glad her little boy is so happy about his haircut.
“He’s over the moon,” she told the Daily Mail. “What’s more, he had the best night’s sleep. Usually, I tie it back with a bobble, but during the night it gets in his face. After getting his hair cut, he slept like a log.”