A 17-year-old Buckingham boy has had his mop of hair shaved off to show solidarity with his much-loved cousin, Chase Howie, who lost her hair after being treated for cancer.
Luc Gibson, from Page Hill, has raised £1,676 for Macmillan Cancer Support after setting up a Justgiving page in advance of the head shave on Tuesday night – Chase’s 17th birthday.
Wielding the clippers was Luc’s dad, Michael Gibson, aka Mick the Barber.
As well as cousins, Chase and Luc have been the best of friends all their lives.
Chase, who lives on Bourtonville, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer last July.
Since then, Luc has been her rock, accompanying her to every hospital appointment and sitting for hours with her mum, Amanda, as Chase underwent MRI, PET and CT scans and then chemo.
Amanda said: “He has been an amazing support for Chase and comes round often, even if it is to just sit with Chase if she is having an off day. If she feels sad, she’ll ring Luc and he will be guaranteed to get her laughing within two minutes.”
Chase’s ordeal began last May when she found a lump in her groin, which doctors originally believed was lymphoma.
But extensive tests revealed the presence of further tumours in her foot, calf, groin, lung and chest and she was diagnosed with alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer of the connective muscle tissue.
Instead of starting work as planned that summer at Rocco & Co Hairdressing in Towcester, Chase embarked a programme of intensive chemotherapy.
This came with a raft of unpleasant side effects including, within the first week, the loss of her long blonde locks.
Thankfully, the latest PET scan this month showed no active tumours and Chase has now begun a year of maintenance chemotherapy, involving weekly doses of drugs though a line in her chest.
Amanda said: “She should finish her maintenance chemo just before her 18th birthday. That’ll be a massive celebration – followed by a really long holiday.
“Everybody would agree with me how amazing she’s been. She’s never moaned or complained, I think everybody’s in awe of her.”
Luc has been growing his hair since February after he set up his Justgiving page to show support for Chase and raise awareness of teenage cancer.
He said: “The moment we found out about Chase, I knew I had to do something but I didn’t know I was going to be shaving my hair.”