A 16-year-old girl from Potton in Bedfordshire has shaved off her hair in an extraordinary show of support for her Nan who has cancer, and to spread the message that beauty comes from within.
In shaving off her long locks, Abi Rushton, a student at Sandy Secondary School, has raised an incredible £3,000 for Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice which has helped care for her Nan.
Abi shares: “I decided to shave my head with my Nan. She has struggled with cancer for years and years now. And I have many times seen her struggle with feeling beautiful and her self-esteem and it made me so sad to see.
“I wanted to show her that what she sees is not true and everyone else can see her for the beautiful woman that she is.”
Shaving her head is something Abi has wanted to do for some time to challenge misconceptions around people’s ideas of what’s beautiful.
“As part of my head shave I wanted to raise awareness about society’s beauty standards of young girls, and to tell people that beauty is more than skin deep. We live in a society that revolves around social media and it is hard to see beyond the expectations that are made of teenagers.
“I wanted to make people realise that beauty standards are stupid and that overall it is subjective. I want people to see that you can still be beautiful, whether you have hair or not, and that it is not vital in being pretty.
“So many people who have health problems suffer from hair loss in their diagnosis and they do not have a choice. They have to go without hair, as well as suffer with their health and the limitations that come with it. Many people feel as though without their hair, they are no longer ’pretty’ or ‘good looking’. And it breaks my heart to hear it.”
Abi shaved her head at home last month alongside her Nan. Abi shares: “It was so empowering to shave off my hair and it was a real privilege to know that I may have helped someone, somewhere, even a little.”
Since the head shave, support and donations have been rolling in for the big-hearted teenager in support of Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice.
“I wanted to do a fundraiser for Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice in Moggerhanger, a local charity that I know has struggled for funds during the pandemic, but is a very important part of many people‘s journey through illness, whether they are the patient, or their family and friends,” Abi adds.
“My own Nan has recently been helped enormously by the incredible Sue Ryder Nurses from the hospice’s Palliative Care Hub, and I just wanted to give back as much as I can, to help them continue the amazing work that they are doing.
“I originally set out to raise £1000, which to be honest, I doubted that I would achieve. In the end I raised three times that! Both me and my family are hugely grateful to everyone who has donated. We are so grateful for the care Sue Ryder has given my Nan. They helped Nan have an enjoyable and comfortable Christmas last year. It means so much to us.”
There is still time to donate to Abi’s fundraising at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/abishavesherhead
For more information on Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice visit www.sueryder.org/stjohns