Wed, 27 Sept 2017
A YOUNG woman from Newbury bravely decided to publicly shave off all her hair in a show of solidarity with her mother who is undergoing treatment for leukaemia.
Friends and family gathered at the Rowbarge in Woolhampton to lend support to Brianna O’Sullivan as she underwent the dramatic transformation from blonde to bald, raising more than £2,500 for charity in the process.
And most importantly for the 22-year-old, Miss O’Sullivan’s mother, Marcella, was able to go along to the event on Friday, September 8, making it a particularly emotional evening for the pair.
Speaking to the Newbury Weekly News Mrs O’Sullivan said: “Luckily I had a break in my treatment and I was able to go.
“I was surprised when she said she would do it but I was just so thrilled I could be there.
“It was very emotional, both of us were in tears during the whole thing, but I was just so proud of her for doing it and to raise that amount of money is a fantastic achievement.”
The 60-year-old was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in June and has now completed two cycles of chemotherapy.
Miss O’Sullivan, who admitted she has always done everything she can to be like her mother, was overwhelmed to see around 100 people turn up at the Rowbarge Inn in Woolhampton – where she works as assistant manager – to show their support.
The money raised will be donated to cancer charity Bloodwise, which funds research into blood diseases.
After the event Miss O’Sullivan explained how, in a small way, taking part in the fundraiser helped her get over a feeling of helplessness following her mother’s diagnosis.
“It was a total shock,” she said.
“This was a way for me to feel like I had some sort of input or semblance of control over the situation.
“And for the most part it was great.
“It was a great atmosphere with everyone coming along.”
Mrs O’Sullivan, who originally hails from Dublin, added: “I think it’s brought us closer.
“She’s been a fantastic carer, looking after me, bringing me to and from hospital, and the Rowbarge have been fantastic as well with giving her time off if she needs it.
“We’ve been very lucky in that respect.”
Mrs O’Sullivan, who is now undergoing her third cycle of chemo, admitted she is starting to get used to her daughter’s new look.
“The last time she had that little hair was when she was born, but Bri really suits it,” she said, before jokingly adding: “She has a nice-shaped head, so I’m taking credit for that.”
You can still donate to help Miss O’Sullivan’s fundraising total by visiting www.justgiving.com/fundraising/brisheadshave