A little boy shaved his head so his toddler sister wouldn’t feel alone when she lost her hair after being diagnosed with cancer.
Milo Woolard, five, braved the clippers to support his two-year-old sister, Zella, when she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma – a cancer that develops in her nerve cells.
Mum Rachel, 26, took Zella to the doctors when she noticed the tot having issues sleeping and with her vision, but didn’t think it would be anything serious.
But the youngster was tragically diagnosed with the rare form of cancer – which affects just 100 children per year in the UK – in August this year.
And now Milo and his grandmother, Sue Goodjohn, 56, have shaved their hair to raise money for charity Neuroblastoma UK and show their support for Zella as she battles the disease.
Rachel, a stay-at-home mom, from Ely, Cambridge, said: “There are really no words to describe exactly how overwhelming it all feels when your child is diagnosed with cancer.
“It’s all been such a blur. It came completely out of the blue and we were in shock for a while, it felt like a horrible, never-ending nightmare.
“Zella lost her hair really quickly. In the first round of chemo, she pretty much lost it all.
“We were trying to think of a way to raise some money for charity and I kept joking to my mum ‘oh, shave your hair off’, shave your hair, just do it come on’ and eventually she agreed.
“Milo’s always said he wanted to do [shave his head] but you know, he’s five, so I wasn’t sure if he was just saying it, but he seemed very certain of it.
“He obviously knows that his sister isn’t very well and has no hair and he also knows that we are raising money for charity, so I think that’s all he really understands, and that’s why he wanted to do it.”
Rachel first took Zella to the hospital in August 2023 – when she noticed the tot was having issues with her sleep.
Not expecting there to be any major issues, Rachel became concerned when Zella was taken for a scan and doctors asked for Zella’s dad, Ryan, 26, who owns a building business, to come into the hospital too.
They explained the scan revealed Zella was suffering from a large tumor in her pelvic area – and within 48 hours she started chemotherapy.
Rachel said: “I expected that we’d be sent home [from the hospital] within a couple of hours.
“But soon after we arrived, Zella was taken for a scan and there were around five or six doctors in the room, which seemed a bit extreme.
“When Ryan arrived, they took us into a private room, and I couldn’t even tell you what they said to be honest.”
Zella swiftly lost her hair following treatment – so Grandma Sue decided to shave her head to help raise money for Neuroblastoma UK – with big brother Milo saying he wanted to join in too.
On December 1st, Sue’s 56th birthday, both grandmother and grandson took the plunge and shaved their heads to help Neuroblastoma UK in their search for a cure for the condition.
Sue said: “I was a little bit apprehensive at first, but Rachel has actually done a really good job and it’s for Zella and a really good cause, so that’s the main thing.
“I’m overwhelmed by it all really, I didn’t realize we’d be able to raise so much money.
“I’m so grateful and blown away by everyone’s generosity and support for Zella and the charity.”
Pascale Harvie, President and General Manager of JustGiving, said: “Little Zella is a warrior.
“It’s heartbreaking to hear that any child is battling a disease as cruel as cancer and it is something that no parent, grandparent or sibling should ever have to deal with.
“Sue and Milo’s fundraiser was an amazing way to show support for Zella and the whole family at such a difficult time and they have already raised an amazing amount of money for a vital charity, that helps so many children affected by cancer.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
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