Tilly Addy, seven, from Stalham, has cut off 30cm of her hair to donate to the Little Princess Trust, raising £418 for EACH at the same time.
As sister to Harry Addy, 10, who has a pilocytic astrocytoma – a slow-growing type of brain tumour – Tilly has seen the devasting effects cancer has on a child, including the loss of hair resulting from treatment. Mum of four Melanie Addy, 35, full-time carer to Harry, told Tilly about the Little Princess Trust and how it make wigs for young girls who have lost their hair through cancer treatment. Tilly immediately wanted to help and donate her hair, and she raised money for EACH, which supports the family, in the process.
Harry has a strong relationship with one of EACH’s play therapists, Tilly has attended sibling events since she was five and all the family, including Daisy Rodwell, 13, and Hattie Addy, four, have enjoyed the charity’s Christmas parties.
Melanie said: “EACH has helped us create some amazing memories that are so important when you have an ill child. I don’t want my children to look back on their childhood and remember only the hospital trips, and the bad times, I want them to have as many happy memories as possible. Even Tilly, at seven, understands [the difference EACH makes] which is why she wanted to raise money for EACH.”
Harry’s tumour was diagnosed in 2015, so he has battled cancer half his life, including two-and-a-half years of weekly chemotherapy and major surgery. Although treatment has taken its toll, he is still a happy boy rarely seen without a smile.
Melanie said: “I don’t think I realised how big it (the diagnosis) was, how much our lives would change from then on. I had no idea how difficult the next five years were going to be. They said his whole childhood would be taken up with different treatments, so we’re on edge waiting for what’s next, although I’m not sure how many options we have left.”
Tilly is described as happy, helpful, caring and generous. She is a similarly smiley person and likes to make presents for her friends and teachers, though she worries greatly about Harry and finds hospital visits, that can vary in length from hours to weeks, tough.
In 2020 the family not only suffered the stress of emergency hospital appointments and complications, they had to shield for 12 weeks beginning in March, with great concern about the potential effect of the coronavirus on Harry’s health. The only support for the family was a bubble with the children’s grandmother, Melanie’s mother, Lesley Wymer, to help look after the children.