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Helen’s story – I braved the shave and raised £4,000

27th February 2020

Earlier this year, Worldwide Cancer Research supporter Helen braved the shave to support her mum, who had received a devastating diagnosis of colon and secondary liver cancer five months prior and had started losing her hair.

Helen’s mum, Suzanne, is far from alone in losing her hair as a result of going through chemotherapy. Around 65% of patients undergoing the treatment will experience some hair loss – amongst other gruelling side-effects.

Not only has Helen raised an incredible amount of money to help us start new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, but she’s also donated her hair to the Little Princess Trust to make wigs for children who have suffered hair loss due to illnesses including cancer.

Here’s Helen’s inspiring story:

“I started my journey with the hope of raising £500 for Worldwide Cancer Research. The plan was for my friend to cut my hair in my kitchen, but as donations continued to mount up on my JustGiving page I realised this was all going to be so much bigger and better than I had hoped.

“My church minister at Blantyre Old Parish Church secured a venue, and I appealed to local papers and on social media for donations and raffle prizes. Local businesses were really generous and combined with offerings from local residents, we ended up with more than 60 raffle prizes.

“On the day itself, instead of feeling nervous, I was incredibly excited. It really was a team effort with several friends helping me set up the church hall for the event. My 16-year-old son, Callum, took charge of the “how many sweets are in the jar?” guessing game (it was 206), and the Church Guild volunteered to set up and run the teas and coffees with lots of lovely home-baking donated.

“Once raffle tickets were sold and I'd had the chance to personally speak to everyone and thank them for their generosity, the mane event began (see what I did there!?). My hairdresser Tracy started by shaving my husband Scott's hair, and then I sat in the seat ready to have my own long hair chopped.

“Within minutes I had a ‘number one’ too - a brand-new experience for me. It tickled, and with the temperature only just hovering above freezing in Scotland it felt pretty chilly! I remember feeling a little shocked at how much weight I no longer felt on my neck, but I soon threw myself into making sure people were enjoying the teas and home-bakes as well as selling loads of tickets for the raffle.

“In addition to the day itself and all my online fundraising, my eldest daughter Sarah held a bake sale at her work at Booking.com in Cambridge and raised our total to £4,137!

“I also had another little boost when I was told that the Church Guild planned to hold a quiz and pancake night for donations - so the amount we’ve already raised will keep rising!

“I am so completely overwhelmed with all of the support from family, friends and strangers who all have their own stories of someone who has been affected by cancer in one way or another. I am delighted that I’ve done this one little thing to help make a difference and I’d do it again if I could (I just need to wait until my hair has grown back).

“My mum was recently given good news - the cancer hasn't spread and has even reduced slightly. But there’s still a long way to go, which is why it’s so important that charities like Worldwide Cancer Research can keep funding as much bold new research as possible. It’s amazing to think that the money I’ve raised could help start new cures for cancer.”

If you’ve been affected by cancer and want to share your story, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Our friendly team are just an email away at stories@worldwidecancerresearch.org.