Brave Gail Stands Up To Cancer

Hospital worker raises �2,500 with Chemo Appeal head shave

A HOSPITAL employee who was diagnosed with breast cancer in the summer has raised nearly �2,500 for the Chemotherapy Appeal by having her head shaved.

Gail Richards, a workforce development facilitator for the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, had her head shaved at the Pier House in Westward Ho!

She had originally booked the event to coincide with the live Stand Up To Cancer fundraising night on Channel 4 last month – and sponsorship money started to flood in.

But a few days beforehand she received a call to say her next operation was scheduled for the same day, so she brought the head shave forward by 24 hours.

She said: “During the evening we raised a staggering �770. By the end of October we had raised �2,459 and I would like to thank everyone for their generosity and support.”

Gail was inspired to have her head shaved after receiving an e-mail from Cancer Research UK about Stand Up To Cancer, while sitting at home recovering from her first operation.

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She said: “On reading the e-mail I asked my husband what I could do and he came up with the idea of having my head shaved.

“As he mentioned it I just cried, which is silly really as I am not a vain person, but having my head shaved just seemed more scary than the cancer itself.”

Gail, who works at Bideford Hospital, was diagnosed with breast cancer on August 24.

She said: “I was told three words anyone would dread to hear – ‘you have cancer’. I just couldn’t believe it.

“I have always paid into Cancer Research as over the years I have lost friends and family to this dreadful disease, and I always said if anything is going to kill me, this would. However, hearing this news, it was just not an option.

“I have a fantastic son aged four and I couldn’t miss out on him growing up for one bit. So it was the case of ‘let’s get on and get this sorted’.”

Gail had her lymph nodes removed during her most recent operation at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital and is due to start six months of chemotherapy at North Devon District Hospital at the end of the month.

She said: “I also received the news that my bone and CT scans were clear, so I’m hoping after my chemo treatment I will be given the all-clear – fingers crossed.”

Gail’s event smashed her fundraising target of �1,000 – and there is still time to make a donation at

She thanked Kerry Whitefield from Golds Hair Salon for performing the head shave, Rob Braddick for providing the venue at the Pier House, Jane Watts, Karen Partridge and Sandi Heard for organising the raffle and the many local businesses who donated prizes.

The Chemotherapy Appeal total currently stands at �1.3million – more than halfway towards the target of �2.2million.

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