50-year-old Emma Wilson of Tadcaster recently braved the shave in honour of her remarkable mum Barbara.
Emma is so grateful for the care her mum has received at Leeds Teaching Hospitals and made the brave decision to shave her head to raise funds for hospital charity Leeds Cares.
Emma loves experimenting with her hair so says shaving it off is a big sacrifice for her, she said:
“My hair is a really important part of my identity and means a lot to me, so shaving it off was a really scary prospect – but I always wondered what it might look like!”
Barbara, affectionately known as ‘Babs’ was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1982 when Emma was just 12 years old. At the time the Wilson family lived in Germany as Emma’s dad John was working for the Royal Air Force. Babs travelled alone to a London hospital for 4 months of intense radiotherapy treatment.
The family then returned to the UK, where they settled in Yorkshire. Babs lived cancer-free until 2014 when she discovered a lump on her tongue, which turned out to be oral cancer. Luckily, Babs was able to have surgery to remove the tumour in May 2014 and did not need any further treatment.
Since then, Babs has fought cancer twice more, she was diagnosed with lung cancer in September 2014 and then the following year she was diagnosed with kidney cancer. Thankfully, Babs was able to have both tumours surgically removed.
Despite everything she has been through, Babs continued to work part-time at The British Library until she was 72-years-old.
In 2019 Babs life changed dramatically when after months in hospital, doctors discovered she had a perforated bowel. Yet again, doctors at Leeds Teaching Hospitals saved Bab’s life by performing emergency surgery to remove part of her bowel.
“Last year was a really scary experience, we didn’t know what was happening to mum. She had lost so mum weight and there was a point just before Christmas that I really didn’t think she was going to make it; her recovery has been far from easy – but mum is a fighter!
“Not only did the hospital staff keep Mum going at her lowest, but the support and kindness they showed the whole family through some extremely dark days will never be forgotten.”
After months in and out of hospital, Babs was finally able to return home to her family in January. Emma and her siblings have become full-time carers for their mum who is high risk during COVID-19.
On the 25th July, Emma braved the shave which saw the whole family getting involved, including Babs. Thanks to her amazing fundraising efforts, Babs has smashed her initial £500 target and raised £2,060!
Emma’s fundraising page is still open if you would like to make a donation https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/emma-wilson161