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Chippenham teen's bald move to help a friend
The good friend of a Chippenham teenager battling leukaemia and paralysis has boosted his fundraising total to £2,500 after shaving his head on the school stage.
Just before his 16th birthday two months ago, Sheldon student Ben Connolly was diagnosed with leukaemia.
Four days later, he awoke from surgery unable to feel his body from the chest down.
Fellow pupil Tommy Burroughs, 15, wanted to do something to help his friend. He has been collecting for Teenage Cancer Trust, which is funding a new specialist cancer unit to open next year at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, where Ben has been receiving treatment.
The whole school gathered to watch Tommy go bald on Thursday lunchtime, courtesy of a former pupil who is now a barber. He also had his legs waxed for good measure.
Tommy, who lives in Fairfoot Close, Chippenham, said: “It’s just something I could do. I knew during chemo Ben’s hair was going to fall out and I suppose I didn’t want him to feel left out.
“He is unable to move and is undergoing very painful chemotherapy, but despite the horrific situation he has an amazingly positive attitude.
“I text him sometimes but he can’t text back so I communicate with him through his mum. I feel for the family so much.”
Michael Seeley, assistant head at Sheldon, said: “We very much admire what Tommy’s prepared to do for his friend. All Ben’s friends rallying behind him is at least something positive.”
Ben’s mum, Suzi Conolly, 46, said: “Sam and I are very grateful for all that Tommy is courageously doing in supporting our son and highlighting such a wonderful charity. He is a credit to his family. We would like to thank the school for supporting this action and everyone that has kindly given and who intends to give to this cause.”
Ben is developing new life skills at the spinal treatment centre at Salisbury while continuing chemotherapy at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children.
The money raised by Tommy will be split between the Teenage Cancer Trust and Ben himself, to help with adaptations to his home.
His mum said: “We are all being strong and none of us are giving up hope.”
Donations can be made at http://tinyurl.com/oqfgneu
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