Collier Row girl in remission from cancer shaves hair
A brave Collier Row teenager, who is in remission from Leukaemia, shaved off her hair to raise money for ‘everyone who is still fighting.’
Chelsea Whitaker, 17, Collier Row, had grown back her brunette shoulder-length hair when she lost it shortly after being diagnosed three years ago.
The admirable teen has so far raised �3,600 for Teenage Cancer Trust and the donations are still flooding in.
Chelsea said: “I didn’t just want to do a run or a walk, I wanted to do something that cancer patients can relate to and losing your hair is one of their biggest fears.”
“When I go to the hospital, I see people that are the same age as me when I got ill and they are exactly how I was.”
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“They’re scared to go out and scared of having no hair.”
“I know how they are feeling.”
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“When I say to them it’s not a big deal, it’s hard for them to understand because they say, but you’ve got your hair back.”
“That’s why I wanted to get rid of it, to show them that it’s alright, that it grows back and that it will be fine.”
The admirable teen, who can now start to enjoy her youth again, stopped taking medication for the killer disease in October 2011 and had since been thinking of ways to give something back.
Chelsea was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia at the age of 13 and underwent treatment including chemotherapy, liquid, tablets and bone marrow transplants at the University College London Hospital, UCLH.
At one stage, Chelsea was taking a staggering 76 tablets a day to keep her well.
Chelsea added: “I lost my hair about five times, it would fall out in clumps first of all, I would go to sleep and wake up with loads of hair on my pillow.”
“I tried to keep as much as I could but I ended up with loads of patches.”
“In the end I said just said to my dad get rid of it, shave it off.”
Whilst undergoing treatment, Chelsea understandably had to take time off from her school, Bower Park, Collier Row, but she wanted to get her GCSE’s.
Chelsea bought a wig, which she soon ditched, before passing the majority of her exams with B’s and C’s.
John Whittaker, Chelsea’s dad who is a single parent of five girls, attended every aspect of treatment with her.
Sometimes he would be at the hospital from 7:30am-11pm.
Chelsea has just finished her first year of her Business Diploma at Dagenham and Barking College, where she hopes to return for the second year of the course.
For now, she has said she will live everyday as it comes and is looking forward to attending lots of music festivals with her friends this summer.
To make a donation to Chelsea’s fund, please visit www.justgiving.com/Chelsea-Whitaker-Head-Shave