MANY young girls look forward to being treated on their birthday with presents, a nice meal out, or even a fancy new hairdo.
But Shannon Timms, from North Leigh, near Witney, will spend her 12th birthday celebrations this weekend watching her long, wavy hair drop to the floor as she has her head shaved for charity.
She decided to take on the challenge to benefit other children who have had to lose their hair because of cancer, such as former school friend Hugo Abbott.
He said Shannon’s fundraising gesture was “awesome”.
Nine-year-old Hugo’s own hair fell out during treatment after he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in July 2010.
Wood Green School pupil Shannon said: “Most people on their birthday want presents, like a new gadget, but I want to make a difference for those who are less fortunate and have cancer.
“Children should be able to live a life without having to worry about having no hair and it’s more important that I raise some money from my hair than have it myself.”
Shannon’s birthday is on Thursday and she has organised the head shave at North Leigh’s Turner Hall on Saturday.
She will donate her hair to the Little Princess Trust, which makes wigs for young cancer patients, and she has already raised more than £1,000 for children’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent.
It provided support and outreach nurses for Hugo, a pupil at North Leigh Primary School, where Shannon used to attend.
Hugo’s condition, which affects about 400 children a year in the UK, is a cancer of the white blood cells that begins in bone marrow.
He had an operation to remove three tumours from his spine at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.
Hugo had little or no hair for three years while he underwent chemotherapy, but he has been in remission and free of treatment since last September.
He said: “It felt very strange not having any hair – it made me feel glum and I was desperate for it to grow back.
“It was a miracle when my hair came back but it took a very long time. Shannon donating her hair is very kind and thoughtful – she is awesome.”
Hugo’s mum, Leigh Abbott, 39, said she and her husband Tim, 42, a draughtsman, first noticed there were problems when their son was feeling lethargic and unwell just before his fifth birthday.
She said: “Being told he had cancer was the worst news you could ever possibly hear – it was absolutely devastating.
“He didn’t have the same energy as his friends, couldn’t run around and didn’t have a full head of hair.
“He was still a happy, joyful boy but there was always that aspect that he knew he looked different, which was upsetting.
“His hair has come back with a vengeance, with twice as much as he had in the first place.”
Mrs Abbott applauded Shannon’s gesture, adding: “The fact she’s willing to give up her hair so another little boy or girl will feel better is amazing.
“It’s an astonishing gesture for a 12-year-old girl because I certainly know I wouldn’t have been able to do that at her age, so it’s great courage on her behalf.”
Shannon’s legal secretary mum Sarah Buckingham, 37, said: “Her hair is long and curly and is what you notice first when you see her.
“But she’s so selfless and as far as she’s concerned it’s just hair and will grow back.”
The event, which also includes a silent auction, raffle, tombola, games, stalls and a barbecue, will be held at the village hall in Church Lane from 2pm to 5pm, with the headshave taking place at 4pm.
To sponsor Shannon, visit justgiving.com/Shannon-Timms
- Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone’s contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.
11:20am Monday 28th July 2014
What do you think? We welcome letters from our readers on a wide variety of subjects and you can send us a letter through the blue headline above.
Our top stories
12:00pm Thursday 11th February 2016
AN INSPIRATIONAL teenager who laughed his way through life has died after doctors met his wish by switching off the machine keeping him alive.
7:00am Thursday 11th February 2016
A NEW free school with a Christian ethos could open in Headington to help relieve pressure on existing schools.
7:30am Wednesday 10th February 2016
SUNKEN boat owner John Simmonds was stunned into silence yesterday when he was handed hundreds of pounds worth of donations from Oxford Mail readers.
6:30am Wednesday 10th February 2016
In a special report, the Oxford Mail exclusively reveals how the owners of Oxford Stadium were still making a profit before closure despite claims it wasn't "viable"
8:00am Wednesday 10th February 2016
FANS could soon be buying Oxford United toothpicks, pet clothing and even lingerie after the club registered its name as a trademark.
6:30am Tuesday 9th February 2016
THE mother and aunt of Prime Minister David Cameron have backed the campaign to save the county’s children’s centres.