A BEARDED uncle is preparing to brave the shave after being inspired by his nephew’s determination to battle brain cancer.
Olly Scholefield was left devastated when he discovered his two-year-old nephew Fergus had been diagnosed with an extremely rare and aggressive form of cancer.
The youngster first began to feel out of sorts a few months ago – suffering with severe headaches and vomiting.
Concerned it was something serious, Fergus’ dad Barney took him to Birmingham Children’s Hospital where he works as a paediatric consultant.
A number of tests were carried out and specialists soon discovered a large tumour at the top of Fergus’ spinal cord.
He underwent emergency surgery to relieve the pressure on his brain before being admitted to the oncology ward where he has spent the last three months on and off.
Inspired to raise money for the hospital, Olly resolved to lay down his razor for two months in December.
But after he and his three brothers agreed to organise a sponsored walk on the Malvern Hills in aid of Fergus, the 43-year-old found himself inundated with messages from friends and family urging him to keep growing the beard.
The Wellesbourne resident now plans to shave off his facial fuzz at the end of the walk on March 5.
Speaking to The Observer, the dad-of-two said: “The whole thing was a complete bolt out of the blue, but the way Fergus and his family have responded has been nothing short of amazing.
“Had the tumour not been discovered when it was, the outcome could have been much worse and although he is having extremely intensive chemotherapy, Fergus is coping remarkable well.
“Recent tests have showed signs of improvement and while this is obviously great, there is still a long way to go.”
The service manager has already raised £1,800 but he is hoping to reach the £3,000 mark by the time the walk takes place.
Anyone is welcome to join the family, who will be providing some suggested routes on the day, with all proceeds from the walk and Olly’s beard shave going directly to Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
Olly added: “Nearly everyone I have spoken to has a story about someone who has received care there. The dedication of the staff is second to none and I have seen first-hand just how hard they work and how much of a difference they make.
“Their passion combined with the positive spirit Fergus and his family have shown, has really inspired me to raise as much money as I can.”
Visit www.justgiving.com/Olly-Scholefield1 to donate or www.justgiving.com/walkingforfergus to find out more about the walk.