My name is Charlotte, but I usually go by Charlie. I’ve just recently turned 18 years old.
Throughout my life, I have witnessed people being destroyed by a loved one’s death due to cancer. I have had firsthand experience myself of losing my grandad and watching him wither away, even if he did do it with a smile. It only makes sense to me to do something to even just make the experience just that slightly less painful.
I knew that I had to do something loud to get people’s attention. You never know when a cancer discovery might be made, and I want to help in any way I can.
Because of this, I decided to shave my head.
When I was around seven, I experienced two major events that motivated me to take action to help outsmart cancer. The first was the death of my best friend’s mum, Anna, and my grandad. When you are so young, you don’t remember the exact details of each diagnosis, but what stays with you is the feeling.
My best friend’s mum, Anna, was just 40 years old when she passed away due to cancer. I remember playing at my friend’s home, running through her parent’s bedroom, where Anna would be most of the time. We were talking to her and, I remember this very clearly – she took her wig off because it was itching her.
As she had some hair growing back, I believed that she was getting better. Not long after, she passed away. My best friend Nefeli, her brother and especially her dad, handled the passing with immense strength. But there are times I remember us crying together, messy cries.
The other event was my grandad, he died a few months before Anna. It was a very different experience. He died very suddenly.
I remember him leaning over the couch to scare me whilst I was watching TV, and as he made me jump, I grabbed onto arm. He didn’t shout but made more of a loud sound that I never heard him make before – I thought he had only hurt his back.
Seven weeks later he passed away from an aggressive form of cancer.
The last time I saw him he was in his hospital bed, looking very skinny and dehydrated, but was still smiling and cracking jokes.
One night in the hospital he was at, I went outside in the corridor and shushed a doctor because “my grandad is trying to sleep!” the next day, I heard that made him giggle.
A few days later he left the world. It affected us very heavily, and everyone that knew him. My grandma moved in with me and my mum, and we had some very sad, but in a weird way, lovely moments together crying.
Shaving my head for cancer research was one of the best things I’ve ever done. It gave me a true sense of purpose by helping other people. ACRF were so supportive throughout, they kept in touch and offered different ways to fundraise.
I felt like I was actually doing something that mattered and was a part of making a better future for everyone. That feeling of satisfaction is hard to find anywhere else.