Saya gets the chop for charity

June 15, 2021 BY

YOUNG Saya Turnley knew she wanted to help others after feeling sad when her mum’s hair fell out during cancer treatment in 2018.

The 11-year-old from Hamlyn Heights – who was just eight at the time – set her mind on raising money for Cancer Council Victoria and decided chopping off her beautiful long locks was a sacrifice she could make.

That small sacrifice has turned into a whole lot of fundraising and the determined Grade 6 student from Holy Spirit Primary School has already smashed her original target.

“My first goal was $500 but my mum was like ‘you’re going to get that really easily, I think you should raise it to $1000’,” Saya explained.

“So I raised my goal to $1000 and we raised $1000. Then I raised my goal again to $1500 and now I’ve passed that which is really good.”

At the time of going to print Saya had raised more than $1900 ahead of the big chop which happens on June 19.


Saya’s other motivation for chopping off her hair was to donate it to Sustainable Salons – an organisation which turns ponytails into charitable wigs or sells them to fund life-changing programs.

“I was in Year 3 and mum got diagnosed with cancer and it was really sad but then I was also upset because my mum was losing her hair and she had such long, beautiful hair,” Saya recalled.

“She was lucky to have access to a wig and my idea of keeping my hair and donating it to turn into a wig started at this point.

“One day, someone may need the wig like my mum did.”

Saya said her mum, Kiyoe, was now feeling great.

She said everyone was getting behind her fundraising effort including her dad, Gavan, and her little brother Huga, 9, who is planning to get his mullet cut off as a show of support.

“Mum and dad were not surprised about my idea – they just said ‘great’ because they kind of knew it was coming because I was talking about it for two or three years now,” Saya said.

“When I told my teacher he was like ‘oh yeah, that’s great, we can support you for sure’.”

Saya – a keen baseballer and actor – has also been helped out by her baseball club, Guild All-Stars, who are allowing her to have her hair cut during a big game and theatre group Centrestage who donated a double pass to an upcoming performance of Puffs.

A Holy Spirit school parent, hairdresser Jordana Boon, also offered to cut Saya’s hair on the day.

“In the past two or three years I’ve trimmed it but not really actually cut it,” Saya said.

“I’m a bit nervous – I don’t want to look like a complete weirdo when I go back to school,” she added with a giggle.

Saya’s big chop happens on Saturday, June 19, between 10.45am and 12.30pm at the Geelong Baseball Centre in Grovedale.

To donate to Saya’s fundraising efforts and help her in the fight against cancer go to



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