1 year ago
13 April, 2022
“I wanted something positive to come out of a pretty rubbish situation,” says Lucy McMann. She’s talking about the head shave she completed for Breast Cancer UK (BCUK), ahead of her treatment for triple-negative breast cancer.
The treatment involves surgery, chemotherapy, and possibly radiotherapy. Lucy realised the chemo treatment might cause her hair to fall out, so she decided to be positive and help other people by doing a head shave and raising money for charity – before she started treatment.
“I’d heard about hair donations,” says Lucy. “But it wasn’t until I went for a wig consultation that I connected the idea with doing it before the cancer treatment. I do love my hair, and it just seemed ridiculous to throw it in the bin. This way, it could possibly help a child going through some horrible illness.”
She adds: “Honestly, it’s also just one thing I don’t have to worry about! It helped me feel I had a bit of control. I’ve got this long list of awful things that are potentially going to happen because of the chemo and that’s quite daunting. So, I decided to have my hair shaved ahead of time because I don’t know when my hair might fall out. It could be the first week or the second week. Am I going to wake up one morning and there’ll be loads of hair on the pillow? Am I going to look down in the shower, and see clumps of my hair? By that time, I might be feeling a bit rubbish, and someone would have to come and shave it. So, I thought why don’t I just take control of this and do it before?”
When Lucy’s at home, she can decide whether or not to wear the wig. She adds that while she’s not ever been “majorly kind of fussy “about her appearance, it was still a major decision: “Obviously it’s quite a big thing when you’ve got fairly long hair and you’re a female and you’re used to having hair. But I just felt I can do this. When I need to feel more normal, I can put the wig on.”
Lucy says her friends have been “absolutely amazing, very positive and supportive”. She adds that they did suggest she might choose something a bit “mad’ as a wig, but, for now, she’s chosen a similar one to her own hair. “I actually picked out a couple of wigs. There’s the one that is similar to my hair, although it’s straight, not curly, and the other one is a bit wavy. I want it to feel close to ‘me’ as possible. Because then I think I’ll feel less like I’ve got something else on my head. Maybe I might get more adventurous and add a new style to my collection!”
Lucy researched various charities before deciding on BCUK. “It just felt right,” she says. “BCUK is aligned with how I feel, not just the support but also the prevention message. I’m only 33, and this diagnosis feels like such a random thing, I’m healthy. I’m fit. I eat really well. So it’s an unfortunate thing and just shows it really can happen to anyone.”
She adds that raising awareness of breast cancer, and conveying preventative messages felt like a good one to support, and trying to raise some funds. More than 150 people donated to Lucy’s Just Giving page, for a total of £5,559 (by the end of March), which is 926% over her original target.
“I didn’t expect very much to come of the fundraising, really,” she says. “I just thought it would be a fun way to raise some money. But it’s been amazing, and it’s at more than £4,000 now. It’s all thanks to all the people who have so generously donated.”
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