April 2018: Student plans haircut for charity after brother is diagnosed with leukaemia

A TEENAGER whose younger brother has been diagnosed with leukaemia is having her waist-length hair cut to make a wig.

Bryony Booth’s six-year-old brother Harrison has spent the last five weeks at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital receiving chemotherapy and steroids to help him battle the cancer.

The Year 9 student at Haslingden High School, wants to raise money for Ronald McDonald Charities because her family has stayed in the accommodation provided by the charity while Harrison has been on Ward 84.

After Easter, her 21 inch plait will be cut in front of her school friends and sent to the Little Princess Trust to make wigs for children undergoing treatment for cancer.

It was at the end of February half term when Harrison, a pupil at St Veronica’s RC Primary, Helmshore, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL).

The family were staying in County Durham with their Nan and Grandad at the time.

After receiving blood and platelet transfusions in Newcastle to stabilise him, Harrison was transferred to Manchester and since then the family’s life has been turned upside down.

His parents Richard and Catherine run Broadway Childminding in Helmshore, but with Harrison in the hospital one of them has had to stay with him full time.

The family, including eight-year-old Alexander, have visited whenever possible.

Bryony, 13, said: “It has been hard having our family separated, but we have managed to spend every weekend together thanks to Ronald McDonald House.

“My mum has been taught how to give him his medicine and feed him using a tube in his nose so he can come home when he is stable, but he will have to go back to hospital every week for chemotherapy.

“He gets really upset about having his picture taken because he has lost his hair.

“My dad has previously done the Macmillan Brave the Shave and wanted to support Harrison by shaving his head again, but Harrison didn’t want him to do it.

“He agreed for me to do it because I am only having my hair cut short. When I was seven or eight I had my hair cut to shoulder-length and have been growing it ever since. This will be the first time I have had it so short.”

Harrison will be given intensive treatment over the next six months and then a more gentle ‘maintenance’ treatment for three years. He will then need regular check-ups for many years to come. Bryony is planning to have her hair cut in front of her year group after Easter.