Cheltenham and District Nurse Team Lead Elaine Pratten rang in the New Year with a brave new look to raise money for Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice.
On New year’s Eve Elaine, who works within the Integrated Community Team at the Independent Living Centre in Cheltenham, was supported by her community nursing colleagues as her husband Simon, daughter Katie (eight) and son Ted (11) shaved off all her hair in aid of the charity’s Hospice at Home team, who provide end-of-life care to local families.
“The pandemic has highlighted more than ever the vital care given by Sue Ryder in helping to keep patients safe at home,” said Elaine.
“As a District Nurse in Cheltenham, I see every day how vital Sue Ryder’s services are, and wanted to do something to raise funds for the Hospice at Home team, as their service is vital in providing the personal care and support patients and families need, in addition to nursing care.
“Our community nursing teams throughout Gloucestershire work tirelessly to support people to stay at home at the end of life, and avoid unnecessary hospital admission. We are unable to do this alone and rely on the services provided by Sue Ryder.
“When we know that a patient is going to be supported by the Hospice at Home team there is just a huge sense of relief, as we know that the family will be well looked after. We know that the patient will be kept safe at home and that we can help families keep going. The knowledge, expertise and the staff working at Sue Ryder are just incredible.”
As for her brave decision to shave her head, Elaine said: “I have always had short hair, but it grew during our various lockdowns over the pandemic and it is now the longest it has been for a while. With 2022 ahead of us, I have been thinking about having a change and going for a short pixie cut, but I wanted to go one further and raise money for Sue Ryder.”
By braving the shave Elaine set out initially to raise £250 for the charity, but at time of writing had more than quadrupled that target, raising an an amazing £1,081.
Elaine said: “Wow, I am overwhelmed by the response! Donations have now passed £1,000 – a sum myself and my immediate family and friends couldn’t have achieved alone.
“This is the first time I have ever done anything like this for charity, so I am really grateful to friends, family and supporters for donating – many of whom have remained anonymous.
“I would also like to thank all the community services, district nurses and community staff and Sue Ryder services, who are doing so much right now to help keep people at home. I know everyone is tired but keep going – the support you give is vital and really making such a difference to so many people.”
“Hair grows but we only have one chance to get end-of-life care right for patients and families. I’m truly humbled. I also have a lot of hats.”
If you would like to donate to Elaine’s Brave the Shave challenge visit her JustGiving page.