When doting grandad, Bernie McCue, was diagnosed with cancer
four years ago, his daughter, Ruth Lightowler and her husband,
Chris, were open about the diagnosis with their daughter, Scarlett,
and later her younger sister, Poppy.
As Bernie continues to undergo treatment, Scarlett (6) and Poppy
(5), know that he receives much of his care in the chemotherapy day
unit at University Hospital of North Durham.
Ruth comments, "In a cruel twist of fate, my husband was also
diagnosed with cancer a couple of years ago and had surgery.
We're very honest with the girls so they know lots about cancer and
the treatments their dad and grandad have had. Scarlett was
keen to fundraise as a way of saying 'Thank you' and as her grandad
lost his hair during treatment, she decided to have her own long
hair cut for charity and Poppy said she wanted to do the
"The girls both go to Wynyard Church of England Primary School,
where I also work. My colleagues, the children and their
families have been incredibly supportive and generous. The
head teacher, Mr Ward, offered to hold a special assembly for the
girls to get their hair cut and, amazingly, Scarlett spoke in front
of the whole school about cancer, our family's experiences of it
and why she and her sister are raising money. My hairdresser,
Emma Turnbull, offered to cut the girls' hair so it was done by
someone they knew.
"It was quite an occasion because both my dad and husband were
there to hear Scarlett speak. We're so proud of both of them
for what they're doing but also for being such kind, thoughtful and
very positive children. They didn't mind at all having their hair
cut - it's such a fabulous cause and it'll grow back after
"It made sense to support the Appeal to extend the hospital's
chemotherapy day unit.
There are so many cancer treatments available now and some
people, like my dad, undergo chemotherapy for several years.
This means the unit is often really busy. It just needs more
space so people can have some privacy, plus consultation rooms and
other facilities. The Appeal includes the 2020
campaign, asking individuals, companies and other organisations to
raise £1000 this year. We thought we might get £500 but we're
currently on £1,500 with donations coming in all the time!"
Scarlett had 40 centimetres and Poppy had over 20
centimetres cut from their long tresses which they're donating to
the Little Princess Charity to be used to make wigs for children
who have lost their hair for whatever reason.
Charity Development Manager at County Durham and
Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, Pat Chambers, said, 'We're so
proud of Scarlett and Poppy, who are the youngest people so far to
take the 2020 pledge. The money they're raising through
demonstrating their love for their dad and grandad, will help
create our chemotherapy day unit. We're delighted with
the enthusiasm and support our Appeal is receiving and I'd urge
anyone looking to support this worthwhile cause to get in
touch. You could help out at one of our events or run a
fundraising event of your own. We can help with suggestions
To contact the Charity Team:
email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 01325 743781.
'I cannot commend the clinic enough. It is marvellous we
have this service at all and well done to you all.'
Patient, Coronary Heart Disease / Heart Failure Service, Shotley
Bridge Community Hospital