Hair looms large in Zak's fundraiser


v Working as a summer camp madrich for Camp Simcha (America) two years ago, Zak Kanter was saddened to learn that one participant had been bullied at school for losing his hair after undergoing chemotherapy for leukaemia.

The story inspired the north Londoner to set himself a challenge to raise awareness and funds for other children needing medical treatment and emotional support.

Mr Kanter, 22, decided to grow his hair for 100 weeks in aid of the UK group backing Jerusalem's Shaare Zedek Medical Centre. It was 12 inches long when it was finally cut.

The hair has been donated to cancer charity Zichron Menachem and will be made into a girl's wig.

He said that after "two years of mockery, embarrassment and a truckload of conditioner, it is with great pleasure that I am able to give my hair to someone who needs it more than I do".

Mr Kanter has surpassed his £18,000 target to purchase a dialysis machine for the paediatric dialysis unit at Shaare Zedek.

"What makes Shaare Zedek so unique in my eyes is the love, care and dedication they give to their patients - and to kids in particular," he said.

"Tragically, I've watched kids die waiting for transplants. In this day and age that's totally unacceptable. Dialysis sucks, sitting in a hospital for hours at a time, hooked up to a monster of a machine while it filters your blood. But the kids know that without it, they won't make it even for a few days."

Simi Ben Hur, Shaare Zedek UK's executive director, said "Zak has a special relationship with our hospital and we can't wait to have him visit again for the unveiling of the machine".

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