A Bushey woman has managed to raise £2,000 in memory of her friend who died from a rare form of cancer.
Hollie Conway, from Bushey, Hertfordshire is still raising money on GoFundMe after setting an original target of £1,000 for shaving her hair off in tribute to her friend Will Rutt who died in February this year.
Will was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma at 16 and underwent various rounds of chemotherapy and treatment, including a trip to Mexico in order to try a different treatment in the hope of beating his cancer.
Hollie, whose brother was Will’s best friend, is raising money for small charity Alice’s Ark which provides support and research into the rare disease.
She will be shaving her hair off live on Instagram on July 11 at 1pm, and so far has raised more than £2,000.
Hollie said: “It is also my goal to show Will’s inspiring family and fiancé just how much they are loved, and make sure they know that Will is always in our minds and in our hearts.”
Will was first diagnosed just before his GCSEs and was forced to miss them whilst receiving treatment.
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This particular type of cancer attacks the soft tissue and when it’s found in young people it can be difficult to catch due to the body continuing to grow throughout.
Will had chemotherapy and it was successful at first as he initially entered remission. Hollie spoke of everything Will wanted to do after it seemed he had the all-clear.
She said: “Will called my brother and said things like ‘I can go on a trip’, ‘ I can go to university’ but then three weeks later, the cancer came back.”
Tragically with rhabdomyosarcoma, a relapse brings with it a slim chance of survival – between eight and 20 per cent.
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According to Hollie, Will didn’t want the chemotherapy again, so Will’s mum looked into alternative treatments and found one that was only available in Mexico.
The family arranged donations in order to fund the trip as well as organising sponsored walks and events and managed to raise a staggering £90,000. Will and his family went to Mexico for the treatment which targeted the tumour itself as opposed to the whole body.
Hollie said: “Will started to feel better but it quite quickly went the other way.”
Hollie wanted to do more than just provide a gift to Will’s family, she wanted to show that it’s normal to have a shaved head and make young people feel more included.
She said: “Eight per cent is a horrendous figure, there are kids everywhere that are losing their hair and if they see more people without hair they won’t feel left out.”
Hollie even managed to get Georgia Hirst, best known for her role in the historical drama Vikings, to help out with her charity event next month.
You can visit the GoFundMe page and donate here.