Daughter to shave off her 'trademark' hair in memory of mum who lost her life to cancer

A grieving daughter who lost her mother to cancer is shaving off her ‘trademark’ hair in memory of her mum – and to thank the team who cared for her in her final weeks.

Tuesday, 22nd October 2019, 5:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 23rd October 2019, 10:43 am

Popular Debbie Atherton, 55, from Washington, began suffering from stomach and back pains.

After visiting Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead in August 2019, medics gave her the shock diagnosis that she had stage four pancreatic cancer.

The mum, who worked in a care home for people with disabilities and ran a burger van, which daughter Jessie, 27, said was her “pride and joy”, died just weeks later in October 2019.

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Jessie (left) and her mother Debra

Jessie said her mum was well known in her community and even won a neighbour of the year award for the close bond she had with others.

Now the 27-year-old raising is funds for the St Bede’s palliative care unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead, which she said went the extra mile to care for her mother and others.

The St Bede’s unit offers a range of therapy and other services to patients and their loved ones, and is open for visitors 24 hours a day.

“The idea from shaving my head came from wanting to give something up that meant a lot to me to raise funds for the hospice,” said Jessie.

Debra with her two daughters Jessie (left) and Gemma

“I’m giving up something I class as my trademark. Also I class myself as extremely lucky to be able to grow my hair back.”

The head shave is part of a family fun evening, which will feature a bouncy castle, face painting, popcorn and a raffle which has seen more than £1,400 worth of prizes donated.

The event takes place a year to the day that Jessie lost her mum, and all the money raised will go to the St Bede’s palliative care ward.

The event will be held at the Blackbush in Washington from 6.30pm on Saturday October 26 with all welcome to raise money for the cause.

Jessie said: “The help and messages have been really overwhelming and although October 26 marks an emotional day, I’m determined to celebrate my mam’s life, and keep her memory going.”