A mother and daughter from Worcester have shaved their heads to raise funds for a charity close to their hearts.
Sheena MacKenzie and daughter Asher MacKenzie-Wilson, aged 12, braved the shave for St Richard’s Hospice in Worcester on Thursday 28 January.
The duo is fundraising in memory of Ms MacKenzie’s former partner Rob Furness, also known as Ernie, who was cared for by St Richard’s in 2001.
Ernie was supported at home by a St Richard’s nurse specialist and following his death the support continued with Ms MacKenzie receiving counselling. Such was her experience, she decided that she too wanted to become a counsellor and now, years on, works as a counsellor within the hospice’s Family Support Team.
It was Asher’s idea to take on the bold fundraising challenge, something they say has really cheered the family in lockdown.
Ms MacKenzie said: “Although Asher never met Ernie, she’s aware that loving and losing him, long before she was born, changed the course of my life. I think I might be a kinder, wiser, stronger person than I was before; I’m not sure that this would have been the case if I had not had the support of the hospice counsellor after Ernie died. She helped me make sense of my experience of grief. I went on to train as a counsellor, inspired by this experience and, amongst other things, wanting to give back what I had received.
“Shaving our heads for St Richard’s is another way of us giving back, helping support care for patients and their loved ones when they need it. So far we’ve raised more than £1000 which is an absolutely fantastic amount.”
Asher MacKenzie-Wilson added: “We set up a Just Giving page to fundraise and it’s been brilliant watching the donations come in while we’re stuck at home learning online.
“Shaving our heads together was a lot of fun and is something we’ll never forget.”
Speaking about the brave pair’s charity challenge, Tricia Cavell, Fundraising Director for St Richard’s Hospice, said: “It’s a wonderful, selfless act by Sheena and Ash and we’re incredibly grateful for their support.
“Sheena has seen from her own personal experience, and her work in the hospice, the huge difference our care and support makes to people when they need us most. They’ve stepped up to help when our fundraising income has taken a real hit from the pandemic and we want to say a huge thank you!”
To support Ms MacKenzie and Asher’s fundraising challenge visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sheena-mackenzie4
St Richard’s Hospice cares for adults with a serious progressive illness, improving their quality of life from diagnosis, during treatment and to their last days. It also supports their loved ones.
Each year the hospice team supports more than 3,300 patients, family members and bereaved people in Worcestershire.
St Richard’s is an independent charity and relies on donations and gifts in Wills for the majority of its income with 22% funded by the NHS.