A brave hair proud staff nurse has had her locks shaved to raise money for Macmillan Cancer.
Donna Wylka invited family, friends, colleagues and members of the public to watch her have her hair shaved off in reception at Pilgrim Hospital, Boston where she works as a staff nurse at Ambulatory Emergency Care.
The 32-year-old from Old Leake wanted to show her support for her mum Jacqueline Betts who was diagnosed with non Hodgkin lymphoma four years ago.
Speaking before braving the shave Donna said: “Mum and I are more or less best friends. I’ve been with her to every appointment and I want her to know I am with her every step of the way. The first thing mum was worried about when she was diagnosed was losing her hair.
“Both mum and I are very hair proud and losing our hair means a lot to us – this is humongous for me! I decided about a month ago to do this and try to raise as much money for Macmillan as possible because they do absolutely fantastic work.”
The family have been supported by a Macmillan nurse who explained what to expect at appointments and possible side effects of the treatment.
Jacqueline had eight months of chemotherapy following her diagnosis at Pilgrim Hospital and still has check-ups and blood tests every six months and the cancer has not spread.
The 59-year-old from Wrangle said she did not have typical symptoms before being diagnosed. “I’ve had back pain for years but I was waking up with pains in my stomach and after putting it off Donna took me to the GP,” she said.
She found out that not only did she have gallstones but non Hodgkin lymphoma in her kidney.
“Sitting in the chemo suite I often felt guilty because I didn’t look as ill as some of the others in there with me. I’m lucky that my hair didn’t fall out and I’m able to keep living as normally as possible.”
Jacqueline’s motto has been “I have cancer but cancer doesn’t have me”.
Donna has raised more than £1500 so far with donations still to be collected. To make a donation please visit her fundraising page.
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is an uncommon cancer that develops in the lymphatic system, which is a network of vessels and glands spread throughout your body.
- The lymphatic system is part of your immune system. Clear fluid called lymph flows through the lymphatic vessels and contains infection-fighting white blood cells known as lymphocytes.
- In the UK, more than 12,000 people are diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma each year.
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma can occur at any age, but your chances of developing the condition increase as you get older, with most cases diagnosed in people over 65. Slightly more men than women are affected.
- The most common symptom of non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a painless swelling in a lymph node, usually in the neck, armpit or groin.
- Lymph nodes, also known as lymph glands, are pea-sized lumps of tissue found throughout the body. They contain white blood cells that help to fight against infection.
- The swelling is caused by a certain type of white blood cell, known as lymphocytes, collecting in the lymph node.
- However, it’s highly unlikely you have non-Hodgkin lymphoma if you have swollen lymph nodes, as these glands often swell as a response to infection.
Some people with non-Hodgkin lymphoma also have other more general symptoms. These can include:
- night sweats
- unintentional weight loss
- a high temperature (fever)
- a persistent cough or feeling of breathlessness
- persistent itching of the skin all over the body
Other symptoms depend on where in the body the enlarged lymph glands are. For example, if the abdomen (tummy) is affected, you may have abdominal pain or indigestion.
A few people with lymphoma have abnormal cells in their bone marrow when they’re diagnosed. This may lead to:
- persistent tiredness or fatigue
- an increased risk of infections
- excessive bleeding – such as nosebleeds, heavy periods and spots of blood under the skin
When to seek medical advice
- See your GP if you have any of the above symptoms, particularly if you have persistently swollen glands with no other signs of infection.
- While the symptoms are unlikely to be caused by non-Hodgkin lymphoma, it’s best to get them checked out.