Six bar staff from the Old Sugar Loaf pub in High Street North are having their heads shaved or chests waxed at a family fun day on Easter Sunday in aid of Cancer Research UK.
They’re doing it to show solidarity with teenage colleague Jen McCrea who is facing surgery for a second time to remove a brain tumour.
The brave 19-year-old of Beale Street is amazingly upbeat about what lies ahead. “It’s risky because it’s very deep-seated,” she said. “But a specialist surgeon is flying in from Milan for the operation on June 23 and that makes me feel a lot better.
“I also have a fantastic support system with family, friends and my work team.
“They decided we’d do the head shaving as a team, so I wouldn’t be the only baldy behind the bar. What they don’t know is I’ve already bought a bright red curly wig.”
She’s also donating her hair to the Little Princess Trust which makes wigs for children who have lost theirs.
The former Northfields and Harlington Upper pupil was diagnosed with glioma (cancer of the glial cells) four years ago. She had surgery in 2010 and has been closely monitored ever since.
“I don’t think I really understood how serious it was at first,” she admitted. “It was only when I saw all the children on the ward who were so much younger than me. Then I started losing my hair through stress.”
Eight months ago the young duty manager – who has ‘Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional’ tattooed on her back – started fitting and having seizures.
She said: “I couldn’t remember what I’d done the day before and I was always tired. Then I was in so much pain I thought my head had fallen off. It was so distressing for everyone.”
But this extraordinary young woman has come through every crisis and is now looking forward to raising lots of money for the Tattersall Castle Group’s chosen charity, Cancer Research UK. “Please come and support us,” she said.
> The family fun day starts at 11am on Sunday, April 20. There’ll be an Easter egg hunt and raffle as well as a reptile petting zoo, stalls and a barbecue. The group head shave will take place about 2pm.