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‘Bosom buddies’ stand head to head in charity fundraiser

24 August 2015

Long-term friends Kate Marlar and Tracey Brader hit back against their cancer diagnosis by shaving their heads in a joint fundraiser for causes dear to them – raising over £20k so far.

Kate from Bookham in Surrey, and Tracey from Fulham have known each other since the 1990s. They were shocked to find out that they were diagnosed with breast cancer within a few weeks of each other, and that after both having surgery, they would start chemotherapy in the same week. They decided - in an act of defiance to cancer and chemotherapy - that they would shave their hair off before they lost it to their treatment.  

Says Tracey: “Cancer diagnosis is just the start of the journey – there are many hurdles along the way that are out of your control and chemotherapy is the biggest. And with the chemo to treat the cancer comes the hair loss.”

Kate added: “We didn’t want to wake up next to handfuls of hair on the pillow, or worse still, constantly worry about whether, and when, it was going to happen. So we decided to take back some control.

“Tracey is one of the funniest people I know. True to form, when I suggested shaving our hair off for charity, her first reaction after immediately agreeing to do it was to joke that her husband Tan, who’s a talented artist, could paint nipples on our bald heads so we would look like a pair of boobs! We might actually do that when we completely lose our hair!”

The head-shave took place on 03 August - just days before both women started their chemotherapy.

l-r: Kate Marlar and Tracey Brader

The pair will split all sponsorship money between causes that also stand up to cancer. Tracey’s half will go to two breast cancer charities, with Kate’s share being donated to Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund, in memory of her mum and aunt who both died of the disease. 

In addition, Kate – who had been patiently growing her hair for months before receiving her diagnosis – will be donating her hair to the Little Princess Trust, a charity which makes real hair wigs for children who have lost their hair through chemotherapy. 

“I arranged with the Trust that I’d dye it auburn first,” says Kate, “I figured that there might be fewer red-headed wigs available and to be honest I didn’t think any child would want a wig with that amount of grey in it!!”

You can donate to Kate and Tracey’s fundraiser via their online giving page

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