A FUNDRAISER has shaved off his lockdown locks to raise money for lung cancer research, as a tribute to his late mother Angela. 

Matthew Norris, who works as a community officer for Didcot fundraising group Play2Give, lost his mother to lung cancer in November.

This spring, as a tribute, he set himself the target of raising £650 to be divided equally between Oxford Children’s Hospital (which Play2Give normally supports) and the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.

Mr Norris had two stages to his head shaving challenge: he proposed that if he raised £325, he would dye his hair grey and once he reached the £650 target he would shave his hair completely off.

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He exceeded his target and raised more than £800 for the two charities.

The £650 target was chosen in honour of his mother who died from complications from lung cancer at the age of 65.

Mr Norris said she was a 'passionate supporter' and volunteer for Play2Give, especially its work at the children’s hospital.

Mr Norris said: “In the last few years of her life, mum dedicated a lot of her time supporting the hospital, delivering presents to many of the wards. So, it felt right to support them in my fundraising too.”

He explained that, during the first lockdown, his mother did not feel herself. She experienced increased fatigue, a cough, and breathlessness. Eventually, she developed hoarseness in her voice to the extent she could barely speak.

She was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer on July 23, 2020, shortly after her 65th birthday. Mr Norris explained that due to delays from the pandemic, there was not another scan until her cancer had developed into an extensive stage.

He said: “Mum started on palliative chemotherapy, but she developed broncho-pneumonia and passed away just three months after her diagnosis.”

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The Play2Give officer hopes his fundraising will help research funding to help other people like his mother.

Mr Norris said: “In fundraising for Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, I’m hoping to raise awareness of lung cancer and to contribute, in even a small way, to funding research to hopefully improve treatments and early diagnosis of lung cancer.

“Early diagnosis is so important. An earlier diagnosis would have given my mum more time with us. An earlier diagnosis would have given us more time to secure support for her in those final weeks.”

Mr Norris was a little apprehensive before shaving his head but said he was excited to help the two causes close to his heart.

The head shave fundraiser has had an overwhelming amount of support and it has exceeded the original target.

Supporters have left messages on his fundraising page sending their condolences and sharing their own stories of how cancer has impacted their lives.

There is still time left to donate to the fundraiser and give money towards Oxford Children’s Hospital and the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. Visit: www.givey.com/hairdyeandheadshaveforroycastlelungcancerfoundationandoxfordchildrenshospital