A MUM diagnosed with breast cancer says she has been “completely overwhelmed” by thousands of pounds of donations after she decided to shave her head in aid of a charity which donates real-hair wigs to children.
Jodi Halligan (33), who got the news in October, was joined by other members of her family in having the cut for the Little Princess Trust before she embarked on chemotherapy treatment in late November. They have raised about £10,000 so far.
She told the A&T: “These days cancer seems to be so common – you really would be hard pushed to find a family that had not been affected by it in some way. I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in October after finding a lump in my breast a few weeks before.
“It started because I noticed an ache in my armpit that didn’t go away and then I found a small lump. We had a friend’s wedding to go to and then we were away in France so it took me a couple of weeks to go to the doctors.
“My mum actually came over to tell me she had been diagnosed with breast cancer and I made an appointment and saw a doctor later that day. As soon as I’d made an appointment everything happened really, really quickly.
“I was in having a biopsy taken the week after – and I started my chemotherapy treatment at the end of November.”
Before the chemotherapy, Jodi and her husband Jack, who live in Ashley and are parents to two-year-old Effi, were able to have embryos harvested and frozen at Princess Anne Hospital, in case the treatment affects her future fertility.
Jodi said: “There are no guarantees, so we feel very blessed to have Effi.”
She decided she would cut off all her hair and donate it to the Little Princess Trust, two days before her treatment started on 29th November.
The charity provides real-hair wigs, free of charge, to children who have lost their hair through cancer treatment or another illness.
When she revealed her plans to friends and family, her brother Vincent, husband Jack and mum Mikki, who is also undergoing breast cancer treatment, decided to cut their hair off in solidarity. Other family members also joined the challenge and cut their hair to donate to the charity.
Jodi said: “One of the hardest things to come to terms with was the idea of losing my hair, so I can only imagine what it would be like for a child.
“So I decided without giving in to cancer, I would embrace it and so I made my own decision to cut my hair before the chemo started.”
As well as donating her hair, Jodi also launched a JustGiving page and initially hoped to raise £550 to help meet the cost associated with making a wig.
However, donations from friends and family quickly smashed this target and this week Jodi’s fundraising efforts hit the £10,000 mark. She said: “I have been completely blown away by everyone’s amazing kindness and support.
“I have had huge support from local companies with large donations given from New Milton Rugby Football Club and Pennyfarthing Homes to name but a few. NMRFC are now wearing pink laces in their boots and a friend of mine has also run a half marathon in my name to also donate for the Little Princess Trust.”
Jodi, who works as a nail technician at the Hair Boutique in Ashley, has had nine sessions of chemotherapy so far at Southampton General Hospital, and is set to complete the course of treatment on 3rd April.
She said: “I have been very lucky because I haven’t had any sickness. I have just felt a little more tired than usual.”
“The treatment worked to reduce the tumour very quickly – after two sessions I couldn’t feel it anymore.
“It hadn’t spread to my lymph nodes so the chemotherapy will also reduce the risk of it returning.
“I absolutely cannot fault the medical care I have received. Everyone has been fantastic but also so kind and understanding.”Although Jodi and her mum are both being treated for breast cancer, it has not been confirmed as a hereditary condition. Jodi said: “It has been great that we have been able to support each other throughout our different treatments. We are both quite positive people so I think that has really helped us as well.”
For more information on Jodi’s fundraising or to donate visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jodi-halligan1