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Widow remembers late husband a decade on with headshave for end of life care charity

Carolyne Hunter

A widow has remembered her late husband a decade after he died, by shaving off her bright pink hair to support the charity who cared for him in his final days.

Carolyne Hunter’s husband Timothy died in November 2010 at the Marie Curie, Cardiff and the Vale Hospice in Penarth after he was diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer in September 2009.

Carolyne Hunter with husband Timothy

To mark the occasion, Carolyne decided she would shave her long pink hair off in memory of him, as he had lost his hair due to his chemotherapy a few days before he was admitted to the hospice on November 5, 2010.

Carolyne, who has also trekked Machu Picchu in aid of the UK’s leading terminal illness charity in 2014, remembers Timothy enjoying the fireworks and views from the hospice on the night he was admitted.

“The single room he was in looked along the shore,” said Carolyne, who recalls Tim being asked how he liked his eggs in the morning when he was first admitted.

“My mother painted that view and I have it framed in my bedroom.  It wasn’t home but the staff gave us space and after a few days it felt like a 2nd home.”

Remembering her trekking experience, Carolyne, who lives in Cardiff, added: “It was an incredible experience. I decided to do the trek because when I brought Tim to the hospice there were notices about the Great Wall of China trek and Tim said ‘I can imagine you doing something crazy like that’.   I waited until a trek came up that felt right.   South America was somewhere we’d spoken about so I chose Machu Picchu.  So it was a very difficult experience but getting fit gave me a focus and I met people going through similar experiences of loss. During the hardest parts I could hear, imagined I heard Tim urging me onwards.

“I don’t think my trekking days are over.  I think I’d do another one if the right location came up, although my knees haven’t totally recovered!”

Carolyne Hunter has surpassed her fundraising target of £1,000

For the headshave, Carolyne’s initial fundraising target was £1,000, but she has already surpassed that and is currently at £1965.   She chose the date to coincide with Tim’s time at the hospice and his final days.

She says on her Just Giving page: “Losing my hair is probably a greater challenge in some ways than my trek to Machu Picchu was a few years ago.

“The recent pandemic has meant Marie Curie is facing a devastating loss of funds with all fundraising activities on hold, so I feel this is the perfect time for this challenge.”

She described each day at the hospice as being “special” adding: “By getting to know people as individuals, they help them do what is important to them.”

Speaking about surpassing her fundraising target, she said: “Quite a few people know the hospice and have similar stories and I cherish those stories they have told me because if this wasn’t happening, they’d have no reason to tell me about it.

“I want to tell Tim that people are still talking about him even 10 years on and you can see how much they care by the donations flooding in.”

Carolyne held her head shave on November 14 and is encouraging others to hold their own safe and socially-distanced fundraising activities for the charity during this winter, to help them support more people living with a terminal illness at the hospice, in their own homes or via the charity’s Information and Support line.

To donate to Carolyne’s headshave, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/bighairnohair