A LATE-night impulse has prompted a Uttoxeter woman to Brave the Shave in memory of her nephew. Katherine Andrews will be publicly shorn at TIME – The Vintage Hub on Thursday, September 17. And she is inviting other people in the area who have lost loved ones to cancer, to join in by sharing memories and stories.
Katherine, was remembering her nephew, Neil Sharples, on the anniversary of his passing when she signed up for the charity drive in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.
Normally, the family, including Neil’s mum and Katherine’s sister, Helen Hudson, and his sister Amy Sharples, would gather for a celebratory steak in his honour. But this year, Covid-19 restrictions meant Katherine marked the occasion at home.
She said: “Neil was a lovely young man who loved to laugh. We had that kind of relationship where we just took the mickey out of each other and would wind each other up.
“He was 15 when he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. He went through many painful treatments, fought with attitude and was a heroic fundraiser for teenagers dealing with cancer. He sadly died on August 26, 2008. He was just 20.
“I’m not much of a one for anniversaries, but this year he was there in my head and egging me on. I thought of how funny he’d think it was and just had this image of him laughing at me.
“At around 1.30am I signed up to Brave the Shave online. The next morning I woke up and just thought ‘what on earth has he got me doing?’
“I did think about it around five years ago, but I never got as far as signing up. Now I just have him laughing in my head the whole time and I’ve had to tell as many people as possible to make sure I can’t back out! The spontaneity bit is a great laugh, but then reality sinks in that I’m going to be bald.”
Katherine will Brave the Shave at midday on September 17, in the windows of TIME – The Vintage Hub in Market Place.
She’s also appealed to people across the Uttoxeter area to share their own stories of how cancer has impacted their lives.
Katherine added: “Because I’m doing this in a public place, I realised it might bring up memories for people, so I wanted them to understand what it is I’m doing and also be a part of it.
“I posted in the Uttoxeter Online Facebook group and have already had some lovely stories which I’ll be printing out so we can display them on the day for people to read. Anyone who would like to share a story can simply add it to the post.
“I’m already touched by some of the stories that have been shared. I think when you see something that reminds you of cancer, you can’t help that person coming to mind.”
In a comedic twist that Neil would no doubt enjoy, Katherine has recruited the services of dog groomer Jackie Heathcote at Scruffy to Fluffy to wield the shears for her Brave the Shave event.
Katherine has already passed her target of £200 for Macmillan Cancer Support, but is hoping to see it increase even further as September 17 approaches. To donate visit: https://bravetheshave.macmillan.org.uk/shavers/katherine-andrews.
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