Bald is best

My family's heart ruled their head!

Published by: Laura Hinton
Published on: 31st August 2010

M y daughter Hannah, 17, took one look at me, and staggered back in shock. ‘What happened?!’ she cried.
‘I… I…’ reaching up, I rubbed a hand over skin as smooth as a baby’s bum. ‘I shaved my head.’
‘M-Mum!’ she wailed.
‘Dad’s given me a spit and polish,’ I laughed, trying to lighten the mood.
‘It makes you look ill,’ she gasped. ‘Not like the mum I know.’
Had shaving my hair off been a mistake? I hadn’t thought it would be that big a deal, certainly hadn’t bargained on a reaction like this!
So why would I take such drastic action? It wasn’t to be trendy – it was because I had cancer.
When I’d found a lump under my breast, I’d told myself nothing was wrong. But it was breast cancer, and I had to have the bottom half of my left breast removed.
‘Look at me,’ I’d sighed as my husband Ray, 46, wrapped bandages around my chest.
‘You look different from each side,’ he’d chuckled ‘So there’s even more of you to love!’ It was this kind of jokey attitude that had helped us deal with the cancer.
So I used the same approach when it came to the chemotherapy and losing my hair. ‘We may as well shave it off,’ I’d told Ray.
But hearing the clippers buzz into action, I’d been nervous.
‘Ready?’ Ray had asked.
I’d nodded, biting my lip.
The clippers glided over my scalp, clumps of red hair floating to the bathroom floor. Ray finished my new look with a razor.
‘You look just as beautiful as before!’ he winked
When I’d looked in the mirror I’d been pleasantly surprised.
‘I guess I could funk it up with a pair of earrings and some make-up,’ I’d giggled. ‘God knows what the kids will think.’
Judging by Hannah’s reaction, she wasn’t impressed. Worried I’d scare my other kids, I didn’t go out until I had a wig. It looked great, but was really itchy! Sometimes, laying in bed exhausted and sick from chemo, I’d just chuck it off.
Hannah was a huge support and would sit on my bed for hours. ‘It was a bit of a shock seeing you bald,’ she said. ‘But I wouldn’t be bothered if you went out without the wig. People will think you’re cool!’
A few days later, I braved a bare-headed stroll up the road. I might look like Uncle Fester from The Addams Family, but I should be proud!
Days later, I got a call from Hannah’s head teacher.
‘Your daughter’s been in my office today,’ he said. Oh no, what trouble was she in? ‘She wants to hold a fundraising event called Bald is Beautiful,’ he continued.
‘Oh,’ I gasped. ‘That’s so sweet.’
‘There’s more. She wants to have her head shaved. Give something back to you…’
‘That’s… that’s… so…’ But suddenly tears choked me. I’d only just calmed down when Hannah got home. ‘I can’t believe you want to shave off your gorgeous hair for me,’ I said.
Her straight brown hair fell to just above her bottom. ‘But I love you, Mum,’ she shrugged. ‘This proves how much.’
So on the day of the event, I sat in the front row of the hall and watched her walk on stage in front of her whole school. As the clippers buzzed into action, I felt nervous… but she didn’t flinch!
Minutes later, with her shiny-new shaved head, she was singing to her classmates. ‘We want Hannah, we want Hannah!’ they cheered as she belted out a Mariah Carey number.
To make the event even more special, my daughter-in-law Wendy, 42, braved the chop, too, alongside my sons Stephen, 24, and Ray, 28. We raised £3,000 for the cancer unit at Friarage Hospital, where I’d been treated.
And Hannah loved her new look. ‘Loads of girls at school want to be bald now,’ she giggled.
Best of all, I’m in remission and my hair’s started growing back.
My family were always so supportive, but by shaving their heads, they really showed they were hair for me!
Christine Beadle, 54, Northallerton, North Yorkshire