Cancer survivor, 72, shaves her head in aid of Parkinson's group that supported her during 'tough' treatment
A PENSIONER was thrilled to keep her hair while battling cancer but now she’s shaved it off to raise charity cash.
Retired teacher Veronica Gaoua, from Warsash, has been attending a support group at the Rainbow Centre in Fareham since she was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease five years ago.
The centre has supported her when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, the death of her beloved Jack Russel, and two cataract operations - all in the last year.
The 72-year-old said: ‘I’m a big believer you cope with what is, not by wishing things were different.’
This can-do attitude left Veronica determined to help when she heard the centre was threatened with closure due to falling donations.
She said: ‘I can’t run marathons - and I’m not going to skydive, I hate heights - but I can get my hair cut.
‘I felt so lucky that I wouldn't have to shave my head or lose my hair during my treatment.
‘But when I heard the Rainbow Centre might close, I decided I would shave it all off to help them.
‘And I’ll save a fortune in shampoo.’
The sponsored head shave has raised more than £1,300, which will allow 46 children with neurological conditions to attend support sessions.
Earlier in the year, a 30 per cent drop in donations threatened to close the organisation, but the fundraising of Veronica and others has turned around its fortunes.
Chief executive Helen Person said: ‘We’re not out of the woods yet, but we’re not closing.
‘We’re not cutting services, but we have to reduce them.
‘I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has helped fundraise - and what Veronica is doing is absolutely amazing.’
Veronica, who worked as a teacher at St Francis School, in Fareham, is looking forward to a better year ahead - planning a trip to Venice to celebrate her 25th wedding anniversary.
Her husband, Cherif, who shaved his head in matrimonial support, said: ‘This year has been a little bit tough.
‘I’m very proud of my wife - and she’s looking really beautiful with her new haircut.’