A caring Coleshill schoolgirl has braved the shave to raise cash to thank the medical staff who have been treating her poorly father.
Libby Lanchester – who is known to her friends as Bea – said farewell to her long locks in a sponsored shave just before Christmas, after launching a GoFundMe page to raise money for the Oncology ward at Good Hope Hospital, where dad Stuart is being treated for bowel cancer.
Mum Louise said: “We are so proud of Libby – she was determined to do something to thank the staff on the ward because they have done so much for us as a family.
“When she first had the idea she only wanted to raise £100, but we decided in the end to go for £2000 and she has absolutely smashed that, with £3,400 raised now. The response has been brilliant.”
Libby, 15, is in Year 10 at The Coleshill School, which is part of the respected Arthur Terry Learning Partnership.
Libby’s hair is also being donated to the Little Princess Trust, a charity that provides real hair wigs, free of charge, to children and young people who have lost their own hair through cancer treatment.
“Libby hadn’t really had her hair cut for years - it was really long, down to her bum – so she looks so different now. She looks like her dad!” Louise said.
Louise, who works at Good Hope as a health care assistant, said the family had been ‘blown away’ by the support they had received from the Oncology staff during Stuart’s treatment, which had inspired Libby’s head shave.
“They are just amazing, phenomenal people,” she said. “The treatment has been going in throughout the COVID pandemic, and they have done so much to help us and make us comfortable.
“I genuinely can never repay them for what they have done.”
The hospital team even helped pay for a memory-making trip to centre Parcs.
Now Stuart, Louise, Libby and her brother and sister Sam and Lauren hope to be able to use the money to pay for a new staff room for the Oncology staff, where they can rest and recharge themselves during the working day.
The family have also had support from within the community, with Stuart’s colleagues from his workplace, Airlift Systems raising money to buy an outdoor building for their home in Chelmsley Wood.
Louise explained: “Stuart wasn’t able to sit outside because of his illness, and he has a groups friends – we call them the ‘lads and dads’ – who he regularly went camping with.
“They got together and bought an outdoor building, which we call the barn, that they came round and put up for us. We had a big bonfire to celebrate, which was brilliant.
“We have been so lucky to have so much support.”
On her GoFundMe page, Libby said: “We could never repay any of this love and kindness back, but I wanted to do something.
“The oncology unit dad has been treated at are amazing, even during these crazy and weird times of COVID.
“They let mum stay until dad is all hooked up (just in case he faints!) and keep her updated as much as they can.
“They keep him fed and warm during treatment and encourage him to keep going. They are funny and kind and treat us like family.
“There isn’t much I can do to help my daddy, but I can try to give back to the people who are helping him. “So I hope it’s not too much to ask for your help.”
To make a donation, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/bea-is-shaving-her-head-for-daddys-chemo-ward