A nine-year-old, who has endured lifesaving heart surgery, and her mum, braved shaving their heads for charity.

Jennifer Jarrett and mum, Robyn, 42 years, from Aldershot, lost their locks to raise funds for both Royal Surrey County Hospital Charity and the British Heart Foundation.

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Smashing their initial £500 fundraising goal, the mother and daughter team have raised over £3,000 for the two charities.

The plucky youngster, who is facing further surgery, shaved off 18 inches of her blonde locks in front of school friends at Talavera Junior School in Aldershot, Hampshire, to thank those who have cared for her over the years.

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Jennifer said:

"I decided that I wanted to shave my hair to say thank you to all the hospital staff who have worked so bravely during the pandemic to keep us all safe.

"They looked after me very well when I was poorly at the beginning of this year and I want to do something to say thank you. I also wanted to help the British Heart Foundation because they carry out research to help people with a dodgy ticker like me.
“I’m very proud that I’ve raised so much money and I would like to say thank you to all the people who donated and supported me. I like my new hairdo too. It’s very comfy!

Nine-year-old Jennifer with mum, Robyn, are set to shave their heads for charity.

The duo have also donated their hair to The Little Princess Trust, a charity that provides wigs for children battling cancer.

Jennifer’s mum, Robyn, who works for Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust, said:

The atmosphere was amazing – the year four children sat socially distanced in their bubbles to cheer her on. They had also made her some lovely banners and posters to encourage her. I could not be more proud of Jen – she is such a selfless and brave young lady. Every time she smashes one fundraising target, she sets herself another.

Jennifer was just six months old when she had her first surgery after being born with pulmonary and aortic stenosis, which results in the valves being incompetent due to the backflow of blood. The valves will need to be replaced, so she will need further surgery in the next few years.

She also had a large hole in her heart (Ventricular Septal Defect) at birth.

Jennifer is not alone in her family in suffering complications with her heart.
Her older brother, Nicholas, aged 15 years, also has a heart condition, which has seen him have surgery three times, most recently when he was 12 years old. Jennifer’s grandparents and an uncle have also experienced heart attacks.
Paddy Walsh, a retired Cardiac Liaison Sister, who looked after Jennifer for many years, said: "Jennifer has complex heart problems and has undergone many painful procedures. She has never allowed these problems to stop her from doing anything.
"When I learnt of her latest plans I was speechless at the thought of Jennifer without her lovely long blonde hair. It didn't take me long to realise that this was so typical of Jennifer, always wanting to help others despite her own difficulties."
The double head shave took place on Thursday 16 July and was streamed live on Royal Surrey County Hospital Charity’s Facebook page. Watch the video here.

To sponsor the pair, visit their Virgin Money Giving page.

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* Page updated Friday 31 July.