Nev’s purple hair dare for Alzheimer’s
It might look like Neville Aitchison is taking his cue from celebrities like Katy Perry and Kelly Osbourne by dyeing his hair purple, but it’s all for a very good cause.
He is in his 60s and works at Alzheimers Auckland in Grey Lynn. He says his workmates ‘‘ganged up’’ on him and told him he had to dye his grey hair bright purple if they raised $1000. They succeeded on September 12.
The violet hue is the same colour used to promote Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, so it’s a fitting choice, he says.
As it turned out, nine staff members were happy to put up the cash required to see Mr Aitchison with purple hair, so no fundraising was required.
‘‘Someone asked me, what would it take to dye your hair purple? I said $1000 for Alzheimers Auckland, not thinking they would do it.
‘‘It was just the staff digging deep and saying we’ll make Neville look foolish for the cause. They got me a treat.’’
The deal is, he must keep the purple look until the end of September.
Mr Aitchison had the dyejob done at the Chantal Landais Hair Studio in Herne Bay. He was a regular at the salon about 18 years ago and knows the owner well.
Studio hairdresser Kinga Hiriczko was happy to be part of the gag and says the colour will definitely last until October.
‘‘I was laughing. We all did when he told us.’’
After his salon appointment Mr Aitchison went to the supermarket and got plenty of strange looks from fellow shoppers.
‘‘The check-out operator wanted to know why I was wearing a wig,’’ he says.
He’s getting plenty of attention at work too. He says his colleagues keep wanting to touch his hair because it looks so unreal.
Mr Aitchison’s mother was diagnosed with dementia when he was younger. He became involved with Alzheimers Auckland as fundraising manager in 2012.
‘‘It was a perfect fit. There’s a real need to lift the awareness of Alzheimer’s and dementia. There’s still a whole lot of stigma attached to it.’’
Alzheimers Auckland provides support and services to the 14,000 people diagnosed with dementia in Auckland and their carers.
‘‘You’re not dying with dementia, you’re actually living with it. It’s our job to ensure people live well.
‘‘For the people who care for them it’s a 24/7 job. If the carers fall over then people with dementia fall over.’’
Turning purple: Neville Aitchison checks out his new hair colour. He is taking his support of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month to a whole new level.