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Sarah’s story: Why I shaved my hair for Hospiscare

Hospiscare Complementary Therapist, Sarah Carter, explains why she braved the shave for our local charity

Sarah Carter celebrated her 40th birthday in lockdown and decided that she wanted to do something special to mark the milestone.

Sarah, who works as a Complementary Therapist as part of our Supportive Care Team, is currently fundraising for her Himalayan Trek with the charity. Sarah wanted to do something for her own personal growth that would also benefit the charity and decided to shave her hair for Hospiscare.

Sarah explains, “Like many people, I think these lockdowns have provided a unique opportunity to pause and re-evaluate our lives. We all have intricate relationships with our own vanity and working at Hospiscare, I see first-hand the extremely difficult challenges some people face when coming to terms with the process of a life-limiting illness.

“Some people don’t get a choice as to how their looks may change, or how their hair may thin and fall out, or how their sense of self is impacted as a result of illness. I’m very fortunate to have that choice and my hair will grow back. We are still who we are even if our outward appearance changes. This is my way of acknowledging that.”

A woman before and after a head shave

Sarah before and after her head shave for Hospiscare

Having previously volunteered for the local charity, Sarah successfully applied for an employed post and was in her role for just eight weeks before the first lockdown was announced. Sarah’s role changed dramatically, from seeing patients face-to-face in the hospice to offering support over the phone. Sarah explains, “This pandemic has shown me more than ever the need for human connection. At times, it has been very challenging to only be a voice on the other end of the phone when you can hear just how much that person needs a hug or to receive a comforting smile. And yet, this enormously difficult time has pulled greater focus to the work we do. I’m incredibly proud that we have kept the individual needs of each and every patient, carer or relative at the forefront of our approach.”

With the support of the Hospiscare fundraising team, Sarah planned her head shave for the end of May, deciding to allow her old school friend and Topsham hairdresser, Gemma Turl, wield the clippers. Sarah says, “I felt excited and nervous at the same time. Most people have commented on how brave I am, usually followed by ‘I could never do that’, but they could! We can all step outside our own zones of comfort to help others and the beauty of such things is that we can benefit greatly too from being courageous. We can learn more about ourselves. My son was quite hesitant though – he declared I would look like a peanut!”

On the day of the shave, Gemma carefully plaited sections of Sarah’s hair, allowing for controlled cuts as Sarah decided to donate the length of her hair to The Little Princess Trust who make wigs for children.

After some time, the scissors and clippers were put to rest and Sarah was greeted with her new look – “hedgehog mama” as proclaimed by her son!

To date, Sarah’s amazing fundraising efforts have raised over £2,200 for Hospiscare and she hopes to continue her fundraising with her new chicly short hair-do.

Martin Stokke, Events Fundraiser at Hospiscare, says, “Sarah is one of those people who puts their heart and soul into everything they do and her Himalayan Trek fundraising is testament to that. Sarah has navigated her way through the various obstacles that COVID-19 has brought to her fundraising, with a smile on her face, inspiring many along the way. We’re so proud of Sarah’s incredible fundraising efforts.”

To donate to Sarah’s fundraising, click here.