The Long and Short of it: Cutting my Hair for Cancer Care

From top left across: My hair pre-chop, almost finished style, about the style my hair, half way through the styling, my long, long hair, the finished result.

Back at the end of July, I made a bold move! I had my long, almost down to my bottom, hair cut to a bob. Since then I have also temporarily dyed it cherry red but that’s another story for another day. But amidst all the chaos of high season at work and scheduling blog posts for my summer holiday, I never got around to explaining why I was chopping off my locks.

The reason behind this drastic change? My great grandmother and step-grandmother. These two remarkable women both died of cancer during my lifetime, leaving behind a mark on my family of the destructive nature of the disease. I was lucky to know my great gran, who died when I was in year five, and she left a huge stamp on my life just through the stories I have found about her since. She refused chemotherapy as she was in her 90s when she fell ill yet she remained strong-willed throughout. Hardly surprising for someone brought up in India who lived through two world wars. Grandma Jenny, in contrast, suffered from cancer throughout the 1990s and 2000s before it defeated her earlier this year. I wish I had known her better, as she was a prolific writer, researcher and campaigner. Even when suffering from the cancer, she campaigned for the Humber Bridge’s toll to be reduced for cancer patients crossing it for hospital visits. And when she wasn’t being cared by them, she volunteered with the Lindsey Lodge Hospice.

So, back to the hair cut. Yes, you’ve guessed it. I jumped on the ‘cut your hair for cancer’ sponsorship bandwagon. But I had a twist. Back in 2008 I switched schools for sixth form. Before then I had always had short hair but my mum let slip that my great gran had had hair long enough to sit on as a young girl. Well, I just had to match that. From this small idea grew the plan to grow my hair as long as possible before chopping it off to raise money. So 6 years on with hair almost long enough but not really growing anymore, I made the decision to go through with the rest of the plan.

Back in 2009… Somewhat shorter hair as I had only been growing it for a year.

I chose to give my sponsorship to Lindsey Lodge Hospice, as they had been Grandma Jenny’s hospice, in order to support cancer care. I felt this was appropriate as she had put in a lot of time there as a volunteer as well as being a patient. And my lovely long locks? The Princess Trust were happy to take the 15 inches of me, in order to turn the hair into a wig for young girls going through cancer treatments. I felt that was the least I could do in the memory of two amazing women.

So how did I do? Aside from getting a fantastic new hairdo, courtesy of Amy at Eclipse, I raised almost £500 before the haircut. This has increased since then as people have realised quite how drastic the sponsored haircut was. 15 inches of your locks is quite a change.

If you would like to add to the total, maybe even heading towards the £600 mark, it’s not too late. You can still donate on my JustGiving page or donate straight to the charity. Please do think about it. Cancer affects everyone, regardless of whether you have it or someone you know does. It will touch you at some point!

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