Breast cancer survivor says kids got 50 Bunchems toys tangled in hair

Breast cancer survivor who spent two years growing her hair back following chemo calls for Bunchems toys to be banned after her two daughters got FIFTY tangled in her ‘precious’ locks

  • Mum-of-two Donia Youssef, 42, from Grays, Essex, is a breast cancer survivor
  • She spent two years growing her hair back following chemotherapy 
  • Feared she’d have to chop it all back off after daughters Aaliyah, eight, and Tiana Youssef-Thomas, five, got ‘about 50’ Bunchems toys tangled in ‘precious’ locks

A mum who has just spent two years growing her hair back following chemo feared she would have to chop it all back off after her mischievous daughters got ‘about 50’ Bunchems toys tangled in her ‘precious’ locks.

Breast cancer survivor Donia Youssef, 42, from Grays, Essex, thought nothing of letting her little girls Aaliyah, eight, and Tiana Youssef-Thomas, five, ‘play hairdressers’ with her long locks on Tuesday night.

However, relaxation soon turned to horror when a panicked Aaliyah shouted that the plastic balls had become stuck in her mum’s hair and would not come out despite her tugging on them desperately.

The author and company director urged her kids not to panic and put them to bed, but soon realised the coloured balls were completely ‘matted’ in her locks.

Breast cancer survivor Donia Youssef, 42, from Grays, Essex, spent two years growing her hair back following chemo. Pictured, with no hair following treatment 

She thought nothing of letting her little girls Aaliyah, eight, and Tiana Youssef-Thomas, five, ‘play hairdressers’ with her long locks on Tuesday night – until ‘about 50’ got stuck in her hair (pictured) 

A panicked Aaliyah shouted that the plastic balls had become stuck in her mum’s hair and would not come out despite her tugging on them desperately. Pictured, Donia with daughters Aaliyah and Tiana

Eventually, the stressed mum was freed, but not before losing large clumps of the hair she had waited so long to grow (pictured)

Donia then spent 22 hours trying to get the Bunchems out of her hair – unable to sleep as a spiky crown had formed across her hairline.

Eventually, the stressed mum was freed, but not before losing large clumps of the hair she had waited so long to grow.

Now, she is calling for the toys to be banned while urging other parents not to buy the toys or to throw them out if they already have. 

‘It was horrendous,’ said Donia. There were about 50 in there. [Bunchems] should be banned. I lost all my hair because of chemotherapy so this to me is an absolute nightmare.

Donia (pictured, now) is calling for the toys to be banned while urging other parents not to buy the toys or to throw them out if they already have

The author and company director urged her kids not to panic and put them to bed, but soon realised the coloured balls were completely ‘matted’ in her locks (pictured)

‘I thought I’d have to cut the things out. It’s taken me two years to grow my hair long again from being bald. I’ve been up since 3am this morning trying to get them out. I was worried.

‘There was a lot of hair coming out because unfortunately it was all wrapped around the balls.

‘It’s not great and especially for me, my hair is really precious. I’ve spent all this time growing it.

‘They’re going in the bin. My message to parents is get rid of them, straight away. Get rid of them. They are banned from my household and should be banned full stop.’

Donia had initially told her girls not to panic but as she tried to take control and remove them herself, she realised to Bunchems were not budging.

Over the course of the evening, she tried to get them out with oil and even soaked her hair in the bath, hoping the water would help it separate and release the toys.

Over the course of the evening, Donia tried to get them out with oil and even soaked her hair in the bath, hoping the water would help it separate and release the toys. Pictured, the Bunchems once removed

In a panic, Donia then called Ebby Ijomoni (pictured, together), 31, who came over with conditioner and detangler and stayed for five hours patiently unravelling hair from each piece

Donia, who has been in remission since January 2018, said: ‘I was trying to juggle schoolchildren and working life. I was trying to keep the children quiet for 10 minutes and they said ‘can we play hairdressers?’

‘I didn’t even know what Bunchems were. The little one, five, had all different colours of these things.

‘She said: “Mummy, can I put them in your hair” and I said “yes of course”, thinking they were hair accessories. They must have been given them for a party or birthday present.

‘I’m sat there and the next minute the eldest starts panicking saying ‘Mummy, Mummy, they’re not going to come out’.

‘I said “don’t panic”. She was getting so worked up. But the next minute I thought “oh my god, they won’t come out”.

‘She was more worried than me. I’ve obviously been through cancer and lost my hair. I had to sleep in them all night which obviously weren’t very comfortable. They were all at the front of my hair so I can’t even chop it out.

Donia (pictured), who has been in remission since January 2018, branded the whole situation a ‘nightmare’

Donia then spent 22 hours trying to get the Bunchems out of her hair – unable to sleep as a spiky crown had formed across her hairline (pictured)

Donia said it was ‘horrendous’ – adding she lost all her hair because of chemotherapy so this to her was ‘an absolute nightmare.’ Pictured, Ebby shows hair stuck to her hand after removal of the Bunchems

‘I bathed this morning to try and see if [the matted hair] would separate by lying with my hair down in the water, but no.

‘I said [to the girls] “don’t worry, we’ve got Ebby, the hairdresser down the road”. She’s a friend.’

In a panic, Donia then called Ebby Ijomoni, 31, who came over with conditioner and detangler and stayed for five hours patiently unravelling hair from each piece.

After using the hair products, Ebby was able to remove every piece – but sadly pulled out huge clumps of Donia’s hair in the process.

Donia said: ‘The problem is you put the [Bunchems] in your hair, then they weirdly start getting attracted each other, then they all lock up and it’s a big, matted mess.

‘My friend has a huge bottle of conditioner, detangle spray and a bottle of water. The comb broke too.

‘My children are mixed race, so they’ve got Afro-Caribbean hair. If it got in their hair – good god. Their hair is a nightmare as it is to manage.

‘My hair is European hair but it’s still an absolute nightmare. I was going to chop it off last night because I couldn’t sleep on it properly.

After using the hair products, Ebby was able to remove every piece – but sadly pulled out huge clumps of Donia’s hair in the process. Pictured, together

Donia told how her friend (pictured) has a huge bottle of conditioner, detangle spray and a bottle of water – adding that the comb broke too

‘My hairdresser came to the rescue, so sorry covid, we [had] an actual emergency here.

‘I need to complain to [Bunchems manufacturer] and send the hairdresser’s bill.

‘I’ve got to go to the hospital in a couple of days and [I feared I’d] have to walk out in public with them in.’

A spokesperson for the toy manufacturer Spin Master, who launched Bunchems in 2015, commented: ‘We express our sincere apologies for the inconvenience this has caused for both her and her children.

‘While the packaging clearly indicates that Bunchems should be kept away from hair, we recognize that accidents like this may happen.

‘We are no longer producing this item and any product still on shelf are through third-party sellers.

‘We encourage parents who may have the item in their home to read the directions carefully and leverage our online resources to help guide play with the product.’

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