A year 11 student from Ashington High School has ‘braved the shave’ in order to raise cash and awareness for Cancer Research UK.
Courtney Stewart, age 15, had her waist-length hair cut and then shaved off in front of her peers during the school’s morning assembly on Tuesday 6th December.
A keen footballer, Courtney was inspired to start fundraising after her friend and long-time football coach, Michael Havelock, was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma, a rare form of cancer that affects the body’s lymphatic system.
“I’ve known Michael since I first started playing for the under 16’s team at the Sunderland Academy. Michael has always taken great pride in his appearance and he loves his hair, which he has sadly had to shave off because of the chemotherapy.
“When I first saw Michael without his precious hair, I just thought to myself, he didn’t choose to shave his head, he didn’t choose to have cancer, nobody does and it just made me realise how lucky I am and made me want to do something to raise money, because I had the choice to do so.
“When Michael found out what I was planning to do to raise money, he was totally overwhelmed. With my hair being so long, I think he felt quite emotional that I was willing to cut it off for him. My friends and family have all been very supportive of my decision and so have the staff at school.”
Setting herself an initial fundraising target of £1,000, Courtney very quickly achieved her goal and has subsequently raised her target to £2,000 after receiving a generous donation of £750 from Ashington High School before the event.
Principal at Ashington High School, Gary Douglas said:
“Courtney is a superb student and a wonderful young lady and her actions come as no surprise. To raise such a fantastic sum of money for charity is a great thing and we are all very proud of Courtney and just pleased that we could support her and help with her fundraising.”
In addition to Courtney’s fundraising for Cancer Research UK, the hair which was cut off has been donated to the Little Princess Trust, a charity which creates bespoke wigs for young girls and boys who have suffered hair loss due to cancer.
“It would have been a waste to throw it away!” Courtney said.
Courtney is currently studying towards her GCSEs at Ashington High School. In addition to her core subjects, Courtney is studying PE, Geography, French and ICT and one day dreams of becoming a professional footballer.
“I would love to become a professional footballer but I know it’s best to have a back-up plan, so if that doesn’t work out, I would quite like to become either a physiotherapist or a personal trainer. I just enjoy helping people.”
If you would like to make a donation to help Courtney reach her fundraising target, please visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Courtney-Stewart10.