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Selfless Imogen's haircut generates double charity donation

25 March 2018

A kind-hearted young teenager from Douglas in the Isle of Man has chopped off her waist-length hair to raise money for PCRF, after spending the whole of her summer holiday helping her mum care for her terminally ill friend.

Imogen PeirceOn 24 March, Imogen Peirce, 13, who attends St Ninian’s High School in Douglas, smashed her fundraising target to raise over £1600 by having 12 inches of her hair cut off to raise money for vital research into pancreatic cancer.  And in a double act of generosity, she’s also donating the hair to the Little Princess Trust to make a wig for children suffering from cancer.

The inspiration for Imogen’s fundraiser was the death of Claire Hughes, her mum’s childhood friend, who died in Nottingham in August 2017, aged just 47.

Imogen’s mum Laura, says: “Claire was one of my longest standing friend as we’d known each other from our schooldays.  I ended up in the Isle of Man and Claire moved to Nottingham but we stayed in touch and visited each other whenever we could and our children became friends too.”

Claire had already battled - and beaten - Hodgkins Lymphoma, diagnosed in 2004 when her youngest child, Dylan, was only a few months old. At Christmas 2016, she was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer out of the blue.

“I remember Claire mentioning indigestion that wouldn’t go away when we spoke on the phone, but the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer was truly shocking and unbelievable,” says Laura. “She’d fought so hard to beat the Hodgkins Lymphoma, and was so overjoyed and grateful to have survived it. To get pancreatic cancer after everything she’d been through already just wasn’t fair.”

Although poorly, Claire responded to a new drug treatment and Laura and Imogen arranged to visit in July to help out during the school holidays.

“But when we arrived, it was clear that Claire was really unwell,” Laura says. “Imogen and I decided to stay and help run the house and nurse Claire alongside her other friends as long as was needed.  She died at home in August and it was a real privilege to be with her until the end. Imogen was brilliant throughout – she could have gone back home to the Isle of Man but wanted to stay. She was my rock.”

Claire Hughes (left) with Imogen and mum, Laura PeirceThe experience of losing such a close family friend inspired Imogen to do something more. She says “Claire was really lovely and her daughter Caitlin and I are good friends. I don’t want anyone else to lose their mum to pancreatic cancer, so the money raised is going to Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund to help find a cure.  I only saw Claire once without her wig when she was ill and I know how important it was to her.  I love having long hair, but I thought I could also help make a wig for children with cancer and I feel really good about doing it. I have a choice in losing my hair, but other people don’t have a choice.”

With donations made at Claire’s funeral and Imogen’s fundraising, the total amount donated to Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund (PCRF) in Claire’s memory has sailed through the £5,000 mark.

Imogen after her haircut

PCRF’s founder and Chief Executive, Maggie Blanks, said: “This is a wonderful tribute to Claire and we’re hugely grateful to her friends for this support. And Imogen – your selflessness in helping others and giving up your summer holiday to care for Claire is inspirational. Thank you so much.”

To donate to Imogen’s fundraising, please go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/imogen-peirce

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