Downs 180An eight year-old girl from Cambridgeshire who has been growing her hair for three years is having it cut off to raise hundreds of pounds on World Down’s Syndrome Day (Saturday 21 March).

Keeley Thomas, who has also has the condition, is hoping her act of kindness will raise awareness of Down's syndrome and funds for Papworth Trust’s OWL Centre in Sawston, which supports disabled adults to gain new life and work skills, and for the Follow Your Dreams charity, who work with children with learning disabilities.

21 March is the 10th anniversary of World Down’s Syndrome Day. World Down Syndrome Day falls on the 21st day of the 3rd month because Down's syndrome happens when the 21st chromosome divides into 3.

She will have at least 18 inches of her hair, which goes to down to the tops of her legs, snipped off in front of her family and friends at a local pub. Her mum has also been growing her hair for three years and will have it cut alongside her daughter.

Mum Lindy said: “Keeley is very kind; at school if anyone falls over she’ll be the first there to see if they are ok and to give them a hug.

“Her hair just grows and grows, so we thought we would grow it to a decent length and donate it to the Little Princess Trust rather than just throw it away. And while we’re at it, raise some money for some good charities.

“We hope to raise awareness of Down’s syndrome too. A lot of people don’t understand what it is. It’s a fear of the unknown. They are not educated about what it is, so they tend to shy away from people who have it or can sometimes be horrible to them.

“But it’s just one extra chromosome. Keeley is a beautiful little girl who just happens to have Down’s syndrome. She runs around playing, dancing, reading, doing most things that 8-year-olds do. Her friends at school just accept her as Keeley, not a child with a disability.”

Keeley will donate her hair to the Little Princess Trust, which provides real hair wigs to children who have lost their own hair through cancer treatment.

It is the second time Keeley has cut her hair for charity; she first had it cut back in 2012, raising more than £2,000.

Andrea Chupacova, community fundraiser at Papworth Trust, said; “We are very impressed with the lengths Keeley is going to raising funds for disabled children and adults. The funds for our OWL Centre will really help to make a difference to people’s lives.

“Here at charity Papworth Trust, we are celebrating World Down’s Syndrome Day on 21 March by encouraging people to carry out acts of kindness just like Keeley’s. We hope that by doing this we will not only spread kindness but also raise awareness of Down’s syndrome.”

You can sponsor Keeley at: www.justgiving.com/teams/keeleysshortcut3 or share your act of kindness for World Down's Syndrome Day at www.facebook.com/papworthtrust or @Papworth_Trust on Twitter.