A WOKINGHAM woman is pulling out all the stops to get people talking about hair loss.
Diane Marshall, a local specialist health visitor, is gearing up to shave her head for a charity fundraiser to open up the conversation about cancer and hair loss.
Diane was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and says that in the moment, she thought her life was over.
She began receiving radiotherapy treatment at the start of England’s first lockdown in March.
“Once I had recovered from the shock, I realised that I had been very fortunate,” she said.
“My cancer was only small and slow growing, and I only needed a lumpectomy and radiotherapy.
“But my first thought when I was told that I had cancer was that I would lose my hair and this fear was very real.”
In her spare time, she volunteered for The Link Visiting Scheme to help support others who are clinically vulnerable.
Now, Diane is getting ready to embrace the buzzcut tomorrow in a bid to raise money for Cancer Research UK and Alopecia UK.
She was inspired to take the plunge after watching her cousin’s struggle with alopecia, and following a friend’s cancer diagnosis.
“A really good friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2020,” Diane explained.
“She was also petrified of needing chemotherapy and the thought of losing her hair.
“She was told that many women choose not to have chemotherapy due to hair loss, which is such a shame when the treatment can help prevent the cancer returning at a later stage.”
And with alopecia in the family, Diane says it was all the more important to raise money for Alopecia UK, too.
“It has had such a detrimental effect on my cousin’s emotional health and confidence,” she explained.
“So I looked at Alopecia UK and saw they are a very small charity trying their best to raise awareness.
“Currently there is no known cause or cure for the disease.”
So far, Diane has raised more than three times her original target and plans to donate at least £1,700 to the two charities.
“I’m taking myself out of my comfort zone and facing my fears by having my head shaved,” she said.
“My hair hasn’t been cut for a year, since my diagnosis, and we live in a society that puts so much emphasis on our hair.
“It makes up so much of us as individuals.”
Anybody wishing to stay up to date on Diane’s charity fundraiser and wishes to donate to the cause can find out more here: www.justgiving.com/team/DianeHeadShave