When Pat Kelly started to lose her hair due to the chemotherapy treatment she is receiving in her fight against breast cancer, she knew straight away that she wanted to turn it into a positive and raise some money for Queenscourt.
Pat decided to Brave the Shave and do away with all her hair and was amazed by the support she received after setting up a Go Fund Me page. “I aimed to raise £500 but ended up raising £1,600,” said Pat. “It’s amazing. I wanted to get something good out of a bad situation.”
Pat’s son Andrew is a barber so insisted on being the person to shave his mum’s head. Pat was given some emotional support by Andrew’s pet dog, Loki Bear who sat on her lap throughout.
That was a month ago and Pat is still getting used to her new look. “It still feels strange, but I have some lovely wigs I can wear,” she said.
Pat, a qualified nurse, first became involved with Queenscourt several years ago when she got a job working with the Day Therapy team. After retiring, she returned as a volunteer about six years ago after hearing help was needed on the flower rota.
Until Covid struck, she and her friend Jan Farrell had been responsible for creating the beautiful floral displays found throughout the hospice. “I just love doing it and hopefully will be back again next year,” she said.
Pat, 72, is now part-way through her chemotherapy treatment after the cancer was discovered earlier this year. She is urging all women over 70 to continue to receive mammogram screening, even though they are not automatically called for it.
“If you are over 70, make a note in your diary and ensure you book a mammogram,” said Pat. “About one-third of all breast cancers occur in women over the age of 70, so it is really important to keep up with your screenings.”