Hair raising student of Consett Academy is an inspiration

The Advertiser Series: Kay McKinnell Kay McKinnell

A TEENAGER had her hair shaved off in front hundreds of students at school assembly today, crowning the success of her inspirational drive to raise thousands of pounds for a local hospice.

Kay McKinnell decided to act after being moved by the sight of children who had lost their hair through cancer treatment.

The 13-year-old has donated her locks to the Little Princess Trust, who make wigs for terminally-ill children, while all money raised will be donated to the Willow Burn Hospice, near Lanchester, in memory of her late grandmother.

Consett Academy’s South Campus in Moorside, near Consett, County Durham, threw its weight behind her campaign after she wrote a heart-warming letter to her principal.

Kay said: “In 2008 my beautiful cousin was brought into the world. He was very premature and born with half an oesophagus, nerves tangled in his spine and eye problem.

“The first year of his life was spent in Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. When I went to visit him I always passed the children’s cancer ward.

“I was only eight at the time and I thought they looked strange, different and funny, because they had no hair.”

In her letter, Kay said: “Girls and women take their hair for granted and they don’t realise when they wake up and turn their straighteners on that one girl will be sitting looking in the mirror wishing she had hair to style.

“She knows she is terminally ill and won’t ever see her real hair. She only wants to look the same as other girls.”

“I want to help a little girl. I want her to feel comfortable going in public and not having people stare or laugh. For a while it might make me look different but my hair will grow back.”

Academy principal Kevin Reynolds, said: “We are very lucky to have a community conscious group of student at the academy.

“We frequently have requests to raise money for various charities and have to be selective.

“So when Kay came along and I started listening to her story I thought it was something we had to support her with.”

He added: “She is very inspirational and will hopefully inspire other people to give and do things for others who are less fortunate.”

Kay raised about £2,000, while the Academy raised a further £1,670 for Willow Burn Hospice.

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