A Ramsgate senior healthcare assistant and student nurse who has battled a rare cancer condition for half her life will shave of her hair to help fund research into the disease.
Kelly Ayers, 28, was diagnosed with Gorlin Goltz syndrome when she was 14-years-old.
Gorlin syndrome is a rare, hereditary condition in which many people develop a type of skin cancer called basal cell cancer of the skin. It affects about 1 in 31,000 people, although the true figure may be higher as mild cases can go unrecognised, and is caused by a mutation of one of the two genes that suppress the development of tumours in the body.
People with the condition need regular checks by a skin specialist and generally surgery to remove the basal cell skin cancers.
Kelly, who works with complex care children and studies nursing at Canterbury university, said: “At the age of 14 I was diagnosed with a quite rare hereditary and incurable condition called Gorlin Goltz syndrome.
“This condition plays a huge part in my life as it causes sight impairment, cysts in my jaw, reoccurring cancers growing all over me, meaning I must have regular surgeries every 6-12 weeks at St George’s in London, causing multiple scars all over my body, which will continue to happen as we have no cure right now.
“I live with this condition daily, but I never let it define me, I’m not going to let cancer win. I am not going to let this condition stop me getting my nursing degree and having an amazing career.
“Even though I am living with the effects of this condition, I am braver and stronger for it.”
Kelly will shave off her fabulous, rainbow coloured hair on Thursday (January 27) to raise cash for Cancer Research UK.
Research shows that one in two people in the UK will get cancer in their lifetime. Cancer is when abnormal cells divide in an uncontrolled way. Some cancers may eventually spread into other tissues. There are more than 200 different types of cancer.
Cancer Research UK fund scientists, doctors and nurses to help beat cancer sooner. The charity also provides cancer information to the public.
She said: “Shaving my hair will be very sad, I love my crazy hair but it’s for a good cause. I am not doing this for sympathy, I am doing this to bring awareness of rare conditions and help raise money for a worthy cause.
“It’s important to raise funds because I’m hoping that one day in the future we will find a cure for not only my cancer but all cancers and leave suitable cures behind for future generations. If I can try help make a little difference, then why not?
“I’m very independent but uni and friends and family are supportive. My passion is my job. I want to become an amazing nurse and look after sick people, hopefully one day travelling while working and helping others.”