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Head shave raises £4,755 for Myeloma UK

Fundraising news // 22nd September 2021

John Gibson braved the shave to raise a whopping £4,755 for Myeloma UK.

The 59-year-old patient from Long Eaton, Derbyshire, was so overwhelmed with donations that he bumped up his fundraising target no fewer than 11 times and is now closer than ever to reaching the £5,000 mark.

“People have been incredibly generous and so kind to donate this amount of money in such a short time,” he said. “I am genuinely overwhelmed. The comments left by family, friends and neighbours on the JustGiving website have been so thoughtful and considerate, and at times, they’ve moved me to tears. I am a lucky man indeed to have such caring supporters who’ve got my back and are fighting in my corner. To say that the Big Head Shave was a perfect day would be an understatement. It was totally brilliant in every respect. This event was so successful because of the fantastic support, sheer hard work and superlative effort by all our friends, for which we are so grateful.”

The retired secondary school teacher was diagnosed with myeloma after being admitted to A&E with acute kidney failure and unexplained fractures in 2019. He had been suffering from severe back and abdominal pain for weeks but, despite losing a stone in a month, his cancer was repeatedly missed.

“The consultant at Royal Derby Hospital didn’t know how I was even conscious,” John added. “I thought I was out for the count, but I squared up to my first chemotherapy and happily went into remission. The sucker punch came in January 2021 when my cancer returned. I have now just finished my second chemotherapy, having done seven rounds of treatment. We’ll find out how I’ve responded to it at the end of the month.”

The Big Head Shave: Wear Bare Hair challenge was the first time John had shorn his growing locks since he lost his hair after a stem cell transplant 19 months ago. He sported boxing gloves on the day to symbolise both his fight against the devastating disease and on behalf of Myeloma UK.

“By fighting together we’ll strike a knockout blow,” he explained. “Myeloma UK provides advice, guidance and specific support to myeloma patients and their family. It is also an invaluable source of mental health support, that has enabled me to stay positive, encouraged and empowered during very challenging times. This Big Head Shave: Wear Bare Hair Challenge was all about helping future cancer patients. Who knows, myeloma may even throw in the towel one day and become a curable disease?”

To make a donation, head to John’s JustGiving page.