A conversation at a tattoo studio in Morpeth has led to the man who runs it agreeing to do a hair-raising activity in aid of two charities.
Jessica McEnroe was diagnosed with a rare illness called mixed connective tissue disease at the age of 14.
Although she often had to go into hospital, she lived life to the full as much as she could.
However, Jessica was taken to hospital after feeling unwell and within 12 hours she died of sepsis less than 24 hours before her 27th birthday.
Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening complication of an infection. It can affect multiple organs or the entire body.
Jessica’s dad Damian McEnroe, who lives in Mitford, went along to Trailer Trash in Newgate Street to get a tattoo done by Paul Stott, who has been operating in the town for 10 years.
He asked for a sunflower tattoo on one of his wrists as sunflowers were his daughter’s favourite flower and he explained what had happened to her.
Paul said he wanted to contribute to the fund-raising effort for the UK Sepsis Trust and after discussing different activities, they came up with one.
As Paul has long hair, he will have a big haircut next Thursday. What is chopped off will be given to Little Princess Trust, which provides real-hair wigs free of charge to youngsters in the UK and Ireland who lose their hair during cancer treatment.
Damian said: “The family is absolutely over the moon with what Paul is doing and it’s great that this activity will benefit two charities.
“It will also be raising awareness of sepsis and its symptoms, such as a heart rate higher than 90 beats a minute and a respiratory rate higher than 20 breaths a minute.
“Early treatment of sepsis, usually with antibiotics and large amounts of intravenous fluids, improves chances for survival.”
Steve Young from the John Gerard salon in Morpeth will do the haircut. Paul has done a number of tattoos on him.
Paul said: “I’m a bit nervous because it has been years since I’ve had a proper haircut, but I’m excited about seeing how much money we will raise. I’ve had support from a number of my customers and quite a few have said they are looking forward to seeing me with short hair.
“It was a no brainer to give my hair to Little Princess Trust. My two kids are arguing over what style my hair will be afterwards.”
After her mixed connective tissue disorder diagnosis, Jessica – who attended what was then St Benet Biscop Catholic High School in Bedlington – started having chemotherapy at the Freeman hospital in Newcastle.
She did a media and advertising degree at Northumbria University and also volunteered at the Oxfam shop in Heaton.
Jessica was employed as an advertising account manager at Drummond Central in Newcastle and the company is fund-raising for the UK Sepsis Trust in her memory.
She and partner Jordan Miller bought a house in Blyth and they moved in at the end of 2016.
Unexpectedly, in the early hours of September 8, 2017, after having celebrated a pre-birthday meal with her family, Jessica was taken to hospital after feeling unwell and within 12 hours she died of sepsis.
Damian said: “It was hypothesised by doctors that the drugs she was taking at the time for her illness masked the extent of the sepsis.”
In the months that followed, the family raised more than £4,820 for the Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Charity.
To make a donation online, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/for-our-jess
Those who donate £20 or more will be entered into a prize draw for three hours worth of free tattoo time.