Keeley from Stotfold was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2018 and began the long road ahead, beginning her journey with surgery followed by 12 weeks of chemotherapy at the Lister Macmillan Cancer Centre and 4 weeks of radiotherapy at the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre.

As part of her treatment she was offered the chance to use the scalp cooling machines at Lister Hospital. These systems are used to help prevent hair loss in certain patients undergoing chemotherapy. A 2017 research study showed that more than 50% of a group of breast cancer patients who received scalp cooling during their treatment kept most or all of their hair.

 Keeley Russell used a cold cap during her chemotherapy last year. Picture: Keeley Russell

“I used scalp cooling whilst having chemotherapy. The pain as your scalp was cooled to minus 5 degrees for the first 15 minutes was excruciating, but once past the 15 mins the cap is fine, this enabled me to keep all of my hair – in actual fact it got thicker and darker! I would recommend scalp cooling to anyone that has to endure chemotherapy."

Women and men rate hair loss as one of the most distressing adverse effects of chemotherapy. Some patients prefer not to identify as ‘having cancer’ and the opportunity of keeping their hair means that they will be able to be more private about their treatment. By offering scalp cooling we are able to provide patients with the opportunity to regain some control and also encourage a positive attitude towards treatment. 

Keeley is so passionate about supporting others going through treatment that she and 10 friends took on the MoonWalk in London in May and have gone on to raise over £10,000, part of the funds raised from the fundraiser have gone towards funding the cold caps at Lister.

To continue her support she is organising a series of fundraising events including a music night and team mud run to support the Hospital Charity's appeal to fund 5 new scalp coolers at Mount Vernon.

“Like many other people diagnosed with cancer, I decided I wanted to give back. I have had amazing service throughout my treatment which included surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. I now have hormone therapy and Herceptin to boot but I also have a team of 10 girls that have been amazing and are joining in with the fundraising so we can all make a difference."

To find out more about our scalp cooling appeal click here