Local woman, Rachael Jones of Brynmawr has started off her own cancer fundraising drive by cutting off an astonishing half metre of hair to raise money for Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, the UK’s only cervical cancer charity and the Hereford based Little Princess Trust.

Rachael Jones said of her challenge: “I chose to support Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust by chopping the locks because of my personal journey over the last 18 months.

“In August 2022 I got the news that no one wants to hear; ‘you have cancer’. After being diagnosed with CIN1 (pre-cancer) multiple years before, I had since been aware that something may be wrong. However, the vast majority of people are able to fight the HPV virus which causes this, so, I had put it to the back of my mind. Unfortunately, I have a medical phobia, am neurodivergent and paired with multiple life changes and covid, I had neglected to follow up with the gynaecology team.

“After a lot of support and encouragement, I was finally able to have an exam five years later and it did not look good.

“Even though I was aware of my previous CIN status, I had no symptoms at all. Not one.

The next few months went by in a blur. Had my first surgery–a procedure to try to remove the cancerous cells in the cervix. It did not work–there were cells left afterwards.

“In for the second surgery–more of the same, plus lymph node removal to make sure it hadn’t spread at the beginning of April I had a hysterectomy. With any luck, this will catch any of those pesky cells that could be hiding!

“During this stressful and overwhelming time, Jo’s Trust were there for me. They provided phone and chat support which was immensely helpful when you have lots of questions popping into your head every day!

“They also gave me short term one to one support which was absolutely invaluable–having someone check in on you, making sure you are doing ok and just being able to vent during that time was so important.”

Samantha Dixon, CEO of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust said: “We are delighted that Rachel is organised this event for Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust.

“Every contribution makes a difference and funds raised will go towards ensuring that Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust can continue to offer vital support to women with cervical cancer, their families and friends.”

“I have pretty much always had long hair, however this is by far the longest it has ever been. Measuring roughly 80am, I have been growing it for the last 5 years,” said Rachael

“This length of hair will provide Little Princess Trust with a good amount to use, although it can take up to 14 donations to create just one wig! Little Princess Trust have provided thousands of real hair wigs to sick children and young people, aged up to 24 years across the UK and Ireland.

“Recently, they were able to start funding pioneering academics and institutions leading the way in researching new and better treatments for all paediatric cancers. An area where there is so much work which desperately needs investment. They have committed more than £20million across almost 105 projects covering a range of childhood cancers”

Originally from Abergavenny Rachel will be familiar to many for her work at Black Mountain Fabrics.