Researching the cures


Ella, 14, braves the shave for Grandad Jon

In July, Essex teenager, Ella Ponponne, had all her hair cut off - in front of her school friends - raising over £2,000 for PCRF.

The headshave was Ella’s idea, in tribute to her granddad Jon Harvey, 65, who is currently undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer.

Ella’s mum Leanne said: “I told Ella that it was a lovely idea, and that we’d all support her, but that she should think about it a little longer before making any decisions. But after a month, she was still determined to do it.

“Dad was diagnosed in April and has had a very tough time going through treatment. When Ella told him her plans, he got very emotional that she would do something like this in his honour. The only thing he asked was that she didn’t shave it off completely.”

Ella approached her school, Passmore’s Academy in Harlow, Essex, who kindly allowed the fundraiser to take place in the school hall during a lunch break. Ella’s Head of Year, Miss Conway, even gave a little speech about how brave Ella was.

Says Leanne: “This was a serious haircut, a ‘no 4’ on the clippers, which leaves hair about half an inch long – incredibly short for a 14year old girl whose hair was past her shoulders.”

Ella says that it was a shock when she first saw her reflection, but she’s getting used it now. “Having so little hair has been a lot cooler in the hot weather than I thought it would be. Everyone has been supportive and I know it will grow back.”  In the meantime, she says, everyone want to feel her head!

In a further act of generosity, Ella has donated her hair to the Little Princess Trust, which makes wigs for children who have lost their hair through cancer treatment.

Maggie Blanks, PCRF’s Chief Executive said: “To do something like this at the age of 14 takes real courage. Ella, you’re a hero in our eyes and we are as proud of you as your family and friends are!”