December 8 2013 Latest news:
By Kathryn Bradley
Friday, September 20, 2013
People have done all manner of things for good causes – from parachute jumps to sitting in a bath of baked beans.
But Susan Provins decided she wanted to really make a mark when raising money for charity – by having the Breast Cancer Care ribbon shaved into her hair and tattooed on her wrist.
Susan, 42, from Oulton Broad, was inspired to support the Sandra Chapman Centre at James Paget University Hospital after her friend Helen Perry, 46, was diagnosed with breast cancer in February.
She said she felt helpless when she heard the news and felt there had to be something she could do to help. So, after going to hospital with Ms Perry during her treatment, she came up with her fund-raising idea.
Susan said: “To start with I said to her ‘all the patients in the centre don’t have a choice in losing their hair but I do’. My hair was right down my back so I shaved it off for charity to start it all off.
“I had the breast cancer ribbon shaved in to the back of my head and after that I had it tattooed on to my wrist.”
Susan was sponsored by friends and local businesses to undergo the head-shave and tattoo.
But showing her support in such a visible way had immediate benefits, as she was also approached by people in the street who offered to make a donation after seeing the logo shaved into her hair.
Further funds were raised during a charity auction at Broadland Holiday Village in Oulton Broad last week.
In total she has raised £477, which she donated to the Sandra Chapman Centre this week.
The money will buy heat pads for patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment.
A group of volunteers, who make the tea at Waveney Sailability sessions, have also donated a number of framed photographs for the walls of the Sandra Chapman Centre as part of her fund-raising effort.
“I knew I needed to make a big effort for the ladies and gentlemen at the hospital so that they can see we are here for them and want to support them,” Susan said. “It was a shock for me when I shaved my hair off but the patients thought it was fabulous that someone would do something like that for them.”
She added: “I actually love having short hair now and would like to keep it because it has made such a big difference to other people. But at times I do get small-minded people calling me names and I am too old to be called names because things like that are upsetting.”
After being diagnosed with cancer in February, Ms Parry underwent a lumpectomy and a further operation to remove 30 lymph nodes after finding out the cancer had spread. She had her last chemotherapy session on Tuesday and has now been given the all-clear. She will find out in October if she will require radiotherapy.
Ms Perry experienced shortness of breath while undergoing her treatment and struggled to get into her flat, which was up three flights of stairs.
She stayed with Susan and her friend Marcelle Speller at their home in Birds Lane, Oulton Broad, while recovering from her treatment and now, with the help of Macmillan Cancer Support, she has rented a ground-floor property in Gorleston.
Susan praised the staff at the Sandra Chapman Centre and said she would continue raising money for the cause.
She said: “I felt sick and scared when I found out about Helen. She said ‘don’t worry, I am not going to die’ but you hear the word cancer and fear the worst. You have to keep strong and say ‘I know you are not’ but it is hard.
“However, we have all kept the faith and it has seen us through.”