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Cherie’s Princess Margaret Hospital experience as a teenager led her to take on a brave head shave in order to raise funds for the hospital that cared for her.
In July 2009 Cherie was diagnosed with a posterior fossa arachnoid cyst that was 10cm in diameter. This was basically a bubble of fluid in the centre of the brain about the size of a tennis ball. As a result of the cyst, Cherie’s brain was less than half the size that a normal girl’s her age should be.
Cherie’s doctors at Princess Margaret Hospital believed the cyst had been growing since birth and incredibly, her body was able to adjust to overcome some of the challenges a growth like this would create.
By the time the cyst was discovered, Cherie had just turned 15 and had been suffering from headaches for over six months. She had been gaining weight, struggling with puberty and consistently seeing double of everything. Her surgeon told her that if doctors did not act immediately, it was likely that she would be blind the following morning and dead in a week’s time.
Luckily doctors at Princes Margaret Hospital were able to perform life-saving surgery during which they placed a cysto-peritoneal shunt (a tube that runs from the brain to the stomach) in her body to drain the cyst. Following this surgery, Cherie had three more procedures within the space of a year to shrink and remove the cyst.
“Each time the nurses and support staff at Princess Margaret Hospital welcomed me and helped me through my recovery. Two of the staff I grew particularly close to were, Gabbie, a nurse and Gabbie, a personal care assistant. These two ladies helped me feel as much at home as possible for the duration of my stay and I can’t thank them enough,” explains Cherie.
“Whilst I was there, they both made the courageous decision to shave off their hair to raise funds for PMH Foundation. They asked me then if I wanted to shave my head as well and I said I wasn’t ready at the time. But I am now!” Cherie explains.
On Tuesday 24 March, Cherie returned to Princess Margaret Hospital and with the help of her two Gabbie’s and a few of the current patients she shaved off all of her gorgeous long hair. Cherie managed to raise over $3250 for PMH Foundation and she also chose to donate her hair to the Ronald McDonald House Foundation to help them make wigs for children suffering from cancer.
Well done Cherie, what an amazing thing you’ve done! We want to thank you for your generosity and bravery!