Toni braved the shave to help raise money for our hospice

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Toni Bailey, an NHS Professional from Crawley, braved the shave last month to help raise vital funds for our hospice. Below, Toni has shared why she chose to do this incredible fundraising challenge and why St Catherine’s is so close to her heart.

“I’ve always supported St Catherine’s, whether it’s donating to shops or taking part in events. The hospice has helped me and my family in so many ways, and I want to give something back to thank them for all they have done for us. I’ve always wanted to do a big challenge on my own to help fundraise and I saw an advertisement about braving the shave, I always thought it would take some real courage to do that, especially as a woman with long, thick hair. I’ve thought about doing it for years. My family members and friends were giving me great words of encouragement and wanted to donate. My hair grows very quickly, and as my hair grew longer in lockdown, I had three inches of silver root which I wanted to get rid of, so it was at that point I thought let’s do it! 

I waited until lockdown was over and visited my close family friend Sarah who has a salon at the back of her house. Sarah’s Mum passed away at St Catherine’s three years ago, so it was lovely to have her be part of the day too. I finally braved the shave on Sunday 18th October and raised over £2,000 for St Catherine’s. We also received a very generous donation of £500 from my daughter’s workplace, Howdens in Horsham. I’m so pleased to have raised such an incredible amount for such a great cause and I’m overwhelmed with the amount of donations I’ve received!

I chose St Catherine’s Hospice as the wonderful nurses cared for my Dad, Henry Parsons, until he passed away on the 23rd February 1996. He was in and out of the hospice for 18 months, and it was seeing the amazing care that he was given which made me want to work in care myself. Shortly after my Dad passed away, I landed myself a role in health and social care and then went onto work at the hospice in the In-Patient Unit. I was in that role for around three years. I loved working there, I was able to see and understand the vital care that terminally ill people in my community needed. It was working at the hospice that made me think about my own life and to not be scared about getting older. I also had many friends and colleagues who were cared for by the hospice when I worked there, so it is extremely close to my heart. I always try to do as much as I can for the hospice, like giving donations to the shops, taking part in fundraising events, and donating to appeals, because I know that it’s all going to the right place. 

I have so much respect for everyone who works and volunteers at the hospice. I’ve had many conversations with people who ask me questions about my own personal experiences of St Catherine’s and how they helped me and my family. I always say “imagine if the hospice wasn’t there when we as a family needed them the most”, we’re so lucky to have you here in our community for people who need end of life care. 

If you’ve always had it in the back of your mind that you want to do something for charity but keep putting it off, my advice would be to just get out there and do it! This difficult year is the perfect reason to give back to the community and help in any way we can. I felt so liberated when I lost my hair and I felt great for doing it. Any help that you can give to a charity like St Catherine’s is so important, especially right now, as they are in vital need of the funds for the care they provide. It takes a lot of money every year to run the hospice and every little penny counts.”

Are you brave enough to take on the shave like Toni?  Find out how to get sponsored and raise vital funds for us here:

Shave it Off!