Luton grandmother who suffered heart attack in her 20s while pregnant braves head shave to fund medical research

Inspirational grandmother, Joyce. She used to have a curly perm.
Inspirational grandmother, Joyce. She used to have a curly perm.

A Luton octogenarian, who suffered a heart attack back when she was only 23, is now helping to fund medical research thanks to her daring headshave.

Brave pensioner Joyce Kelsey, 81, recently had all of her hair shaved off in front of friends and family at the Luton Christian Fellowship, Castle Street, and raised £715 for the British Heart Foundation.

The kind grandmother is fundraising in her 80s because of the fightening health scare she suffered when she was in her early 20s and pregnant.

Since the incident, Joyce has had heart problems her whole life, and recently lost a dear friend to cardiovascular disease, also spurring on her mission to fundraise.

A British Heart Foundation spokeswoman, said: “Joyce suffered a heart attack aged 23 whilst pregnant back in 1961.

“Incredibly, both Joyce and baby were fine; there were no further investigations and she was just given bed rest.

“Joyce wasn’t sure what she could do to fundraise, as she isn’t able to run a marathon or cycle from London to Brighton.

“She therefore chose to shave her head. Her granddaughter Carrie Wells acted as hairdresser, which Carrie said was terrifying but that her nan took it in her stride.”

Sarah Cunningham, fundraising manager for Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire, described Joyce as “inspirational” - even more so for choosing to lose her hair in the winter instead of the summer!

She is also appealing for more Lutonians to be like Joyce and take on a challenge by joining their local fundraising group to help lifesaving research and “save more families from devastation”.

The BHF spokeswoman added: “1961 was the same year as The British Heart Foundation was founded by a group of medical professionals, who were concerned about the increasing death rate from cardiovascular disease.

“They wanted to fund extra research into the causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of heart and circulatory diseases. Heart disease is heartless.”

> www.bhf.org.uk/localfundraising