The long and the short of it: Real beauty comes from within

Brave Barton teenager Bethan Robson is having her head shaved next week to show solidarity with her mum Debbie, whose hedgehog crop bears witness to an ongoing battle with breast cancer.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 10th April 2013, 5:00 pm
Barton teenager Bethan Robson with the poster advertising her Big Haircut
Barton teenager Bethan Robson with the poster advertising her Big Haircut

Beth, 15, said: “It’s only hair, it will grow again.

“The message I want to get across is you don’t need a wig. I’m proud of my mum and all she’s been through. And she looks beautiful just the way she is.”

The Harlington Upper student added: “I’m quite excited about having it done because it’s to raise money for Cancer Research UK and I’ve already doubled my £500 target.”
Bethan’s Big Haircut is taking place at her father Paul’s social enterprise business – Preen Reuse Centre in Dunstable – at 1pm on Saturday April 20.

Six of her closest friends will take turns wielding the scissors, then her hairdresser sister Hannah will tidy it up to a length of 3cm, as stipulated by the school.

“They’ve been really supportive and allowed her to do it,” Debbie said.

The mother-of-three was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999 when Beth, her youngest, was only 18 months old.

“She virtually grew up in the Luton & Dunstable Hospital,” Debbie recalled. “She learned to walk with the nurses in the oncology department.”

The cancer returned in 2003 when Bethan was four.

The tiny tot referred to the scarves her mother wore to hide her bald head as ‘Mummy’s hair’.

Debbie’s cancer came back, in a different form in her left breast, last year. It was discovered she carries an inherited gene mutation which has a high risk of recurring. She now faces the prospect of a double mastectomy and hysterectomy.

Beth admitted coping with her mum’s illness has become more difficult as she’s grown up and learned more about it: “But she’s strong and I know she’ll come through this. It’s made me stronger too.”

Neither is she worried about inheriting the rogue gene: “I’ve got years of developing ahead of me and Cancer Research is making breakthroughs all the time. I know they’ll be able to help me.”

Debbie couldn’t be more proud of her daughter’s determination.

“I’m amazed at her strength – she also lost her grandad to cancer last year and they were very close.

“It’s wonderful that she’s doing something so dramatic, losing all her hair, when she’s only 15. People of her age do judge you by the way you look but she’s so positive about what she’s doing.

“She came up with the idea just after Christmas, talked it over with her teachers and more or less presented us with a fait accompli.”