A fitting tribute to mum Maureen

Dawn Straw has her hair shaved off at the Lighthouse Shop in Alfreton to raise money

Picture: Sarah Washbourn
Dawn Straw has her hair shaved off at the Lighthouse Shop in Alfreton to raise money Picture: Sarah Washbourn

Determined Dawn Straw braved the shave last week as a tribute to her mum Maureen who died of cancer in 2013.

But brave is not a word she uses to describe having the chop to raise cash for charity.

The 46-year-old said: “Many people describe what I did as ‘brave’, but it wasn’t, it was a choice I made. Brave is what every cancer sufferer has to go through, the news they get and the fight they take on to try and survive.”

Dawn, of Porterhouse Road in Ripley, said she had thought about shaving her shoulder-length hair many times, yet had never quite gotten round to it. But the third anniversary of Maureen’s death was motivation to finally go for it.

She said: “I was really close to my mum, especially after dad died. We had a very strong relationship, we were a strong team.

“That strength was tested when mum was unlucky enough to get breast cancer, not once but three times.

“She had beaten cancer twice, with chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery, but she was very conscious of the hair loss.

“I didn’t shave my head to support her then, but it seemed like a fitting tribute to finally do it for her now.”

After some thought Dawn, an eBay coordinator for Derbyshire charity Valley CIDS, approached her boss about the idea, who offered support and helped organise the chop at the Alfreton Lighthouse shop – one of many charity shops run by Valley CIDS.

Valley CIDS is an independent Christian charity committed to serving children, young people and families through work in schools, youth centres and the wider community.

Each year they work with more than 13,000 children and young people and believe that an investment of time, energy and money sets in place strong foundations giving children the best start in life.

Dawn said: “I have worked for Valley CIDS in their Lighthouse Online shop for around two years and am passionate about supporting this wonderful charity and the work that they do.

“They truly do believe in raising aspirations and helping youngsters realise their potential, and I know mum would love to know I was working for Valley CIDS and would fully support them too if she was still here.”

Dawn took to the hairdressers chair on September 29, the exact anniversary of Maureen’s death. And her new look is going to take some getting used to.

She said: “Not only have I shaved my head, I will now be exposing my natural hair colour for the first time since I started dyeing it to combat greying 24 years ago!

“I believe it is now completely white, but I’ll find out when it starts growing back. My head is definitely cold now, and this probably wasn’t the best time of year to do it with winter on its way, but I’ve got lots of hats lined up.

“I hope mum would have been proud. She was supportive of everything I did so I believe she would be happy I finally got round to it.”

The funds raised will be split between Valley CIDS and Weston Park Cancer Information Support Centre – which supported Maureen in her final days.

“Mum was there during her last and final battle with cancer, so the centre is extremely close to my hear.

“The staff were amazing and everyone does a great job. Both the charities are such worthy causes and need all the help they can get. The target is to raise as much as possible for both, every little helps.”

To make a donation visit: www.virginmoneygiving.com/DawnStraw.

For more information about Valley CIDS visit: www.valleycids.co.uk.