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Teen becomes third in family to brave the shave after mum’s shock cancer diagnosis

PUBLISHED: 11:17 19 October 2020 | UPDATED: 11:17 19 October 2020

Ben decided to brave the shave for his mum Rachel after brother Nathaniel and dad Ed took the plunge in a fundraising contest for Macmillan.
 Picture: SONYA DUNCAN

Ben decided to brave the shave for his mum Rachel after brother Nathaniel and dad Ed took the plunge in a fundraising contest for Macmillan. Picture: SONYA DUNCAN

A Bury St Edmunds schoolboy has become the third in his family to brave the shave for Macmillan after his mum’s shock cancer diagnosis at the height of the Covid pandemic.

Rachel with her son Ben and husband Ed.  Picture: SONYA DUNCANRachel with her son Ben and husband Ed. Picture: SONYA DUNCAN

Rachel Lowis was diagnosed with breast cancer in April after finding a lump in her breast and has since endured six gruelling rounds of chemotherapy.

The mum-of-two is now preparing for a mastectomy operation at the end of October and has “flown through” treatment at West Suffolk Hospital with support from Macmillan.

Husband Ed and eldest son Nathaniel waged a fundraising contest over the summer and together raised £4,082 for the charity by shaving their heads.

Then, on Friday, October 16, youngest son Ben took the plunge to finally push them past the £5,000 mark.

Ben Lowis is a pupil at County Upper in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: SONYA DUNCANBen Lowis is a pupil at County Upper in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: SONYA DUNCAN

The 16-year-old is a pupil at County Upper and had been avoiding the barbers since last August – however after encouragement from school friends he went bald in solidarity with mum Rachel.

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The family have now raised the equivalent of funding a Macmillan nurse for a month and their efforts have all been thanks for the incredible support they’ve received.

History teacher Ed said: “From start to finish, everyone has been fantastic at West Suffolk Hospital.

Rachel was diagnosed with breast cancer in April at the height of the pandemic and has undergone six rounds of chemotherapy at West Suffolk Hospital since. Picture: SONYA DUNCANRachel was diagnosed with breast cancer in April at the height of the pandemic and has undergone six rounds of chemotherapy at West Suffolk Hospital since. Picture: SONYA DUNCAN

“Not only have all appointments been kept, but Rachel has positively flown through the system.

“The Macmillan Centre has offered guidance, support, practical advice and counselling – it is a reassuring and calm oasis in the added stress of Covid-19, where the atmosphere is always positive.”

With 19-year-old Nathaniel now back at university, the rest of the family are shielding again in preparation for the mastectomy where Rachel’s right breast will be reconstructed by surgeons.

The mum will spend five days in hospital, but without any visits from friends of family due to Covid restrictions.

She said: “Getting through those five days after surgery without the company or touch of the most important people in my life feels impossibly hard right now, but sadly that’s the reality for cancer patients during this pandemic.”

You can donate to Ben’s fundraiser here.


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