Coffee merchant’s hair-raising efforts for cancer sufferers

Allow it to grow, demonstrate, and depart – all for a good cause.

After witnessing the joy a natural wig brought to a cancer patient, a popular Wellington coffee shop owner realised he could do more than fundraise.

Tomer Ben Shimol was about to have his long, lustrous locks snipped off in the hope of benefiting someone who had lost theirs.

Ben Shimol, owner of Wellington’s The Mini Coffee Bar, has set a goal of $10,000 for the Cancer Society.

Additionally, he has arranged for his hair to be used to make wigs for people who have lost their hair due to cancer treatment.

Tomer Ben Shimol has not sat in a barber chair in four years. “I decided to donate my hair to Freedom Wigs in memory of a lovely customer who passed away earlier this year from cancer.”

“The amount of happiness and freedom she gained from the natural wig made the last few months much easier to bear. She was a ray of sunshine in every way.”

Ben Shimol said one of his earliest memories as a child was driving patients to their weekly Christchurch treatments with his great-uncle Ross.

Naena Chhima, a Cancer Society information nurse, says that having a nice wig is critical for some patients who have lost their hair.

“He was always willing to help others and volunteered whenever possible, doing everything from street collection to fundraising and, of course, driving patients to and from their appointments.”

The Wellington businessman had intended to host a public head shaving event, but due to Covid-19 restrictions, he decided to do it at the shop and upload the video.

Naena Chhima, an information nurse with the Cancer Society of Wellington, said that for some patients, a realistic wig was extremely beneficial. The government provided a $400 grant to cover the cost of wigs, she explained.

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