Tying her thigh-length hair in a tidy military bun is a thing of the past for Leading Seaman Musician Miriam Norman from the Royal Australian Navy Band Tasmania.
Her impressive braid was cut off and donated to Sustainable Salons, a social enterprise that works with organisations like the Australian Alopecia Areata Foundation and Variety, to provide wigs for people experiencing hair loss as a result of illness.
Leading Seaman Norman is also fundraising to support her sister’s Mullets for Mental Health campaign for the Black Dog Institute to help tackle mental illness and suicide.
“I obviously can't do the actual Mullet Challenge due to uniform requirements, but I have had a pretty major chop, which I can use to draw support to my sister’s campaign,” Leading Seaman Norman said.
“I’m hoping that together we can raise a decent amount for the Black Dog Institute.”
In her civilian profession, Leading Seaman Norman is an accredited cardiac physiologist and spends her workdays helping diagnose and treat heart disease.
Many heart patients require mental health support often as a consequence of health-related trauma.
She also performs ultrasounds on the hearts of suicide victims in ICU before organ donation, and cancer patients who have lost their hair because of chemotherapy.
“It made sense to donate my hair and fundraise for mental illness when it is such a prevalent health issue, and the Black Dog Institute is there for everyone, in or out of the military,” Leading Seaman Norman said.
“I really enjoyed having super long hair, but there are definite advantages to the shorter length. I don’t have to worry about it getting caught up in a knot when I bend to tie my shoelaces.”
Leading Seaman Norman’s donated hair measured about 60cm and she still has enough left to craft a respectable bun when she’s in uniform.
Contributions to the fundraiser can be made here: https://www.teamblackdog.org.au/s/14053/14903/s