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Woman, 28, with rare genetic cancer to bravely shave off rainbow-coloured hair

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After being diagnosed with a rare cancer 14 years ago, a woman from Kent will today shave her head to raise awareness of her condition.

Kelly Ayers was just 14 years old when she was diagnosed with Golin syndrome – seven years after she had begun caring for her mum who suffers from the same hereditary disorder.

The cancer is a mutation of a gene – and has caused Kelly, now aged 28, to have cysts in her jaw, go blind in one eye, and forces her to undergo surgery every six to 12 weeks to remove skin cancers.

Kelly was diagnosed with Golin syndrome when she was 14 years old


Kelly, from Kent, decided that before she undergoes a large surgery on her head on Monday, now is the time to “brave the shave” of her rainbow-coloured hair.

Kelly, a senior complex care health assistant and student nurse, says she refuses to be ashamed and hide “who” she is with the condition for any longer.

She told the News Shopper: “I feel vulnerable because I’ve always kept it so quiet, but why should I be ashamed of what or who I am.

“No one I work with knew about my condition, and only one person at university knew.

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“It’s been a real stress to try and keep a job and career going at the same time – I’d have surgery and then go back to work the next day.

“I do try not to let it get to me though as it can completely mess with your mind if you let it defeat you.”

Kelly says she wants to raise awareness of the uncommon cancers that no one talks about – and help to raise money to find a cure for her condition.

She is determined not to let her condition “win” or stop her from getting her nursing degree and “having an amazing career.”

She added: “It isn’t spoken about that sometimes you have to live with cancer forever.

“Me and my mum both just get on with it, we’ve got to really.

“I’ve always wanted to shave my head but I was trying to build my confidence as I’ve always been quiet and shy and private.

“In the end a lecturer at uni taught me that I shouldn’t be ashamed and hide who I am.”

Kelly explained that “now is the right time” to shave her head.

She said: “I’ve been my mum’s career since I was seven, and doing her dressings since I was seven.

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This Is Local London: Kelly's uni friend is shaving off her rainbow hair for her to raise money for Cancer ResearchKelly’s uni friend is shaving off her rainbow hair for her to raise money for Cancer Research

“When I was diagnosed I looked up to her and realised what my life was going to be like.

“Because I knew what it was it hit me more – I understood it.

“I had always wanted to do brave the shave but now is the right time with the upcoming surgery on my head.

“I said ‘let’s do it on Thursday as quickly as possible so I can’t change my mind’.”

Kelly’s friend Steph from university will shave her rainbow hair – which she has because she “loves rainbows and likes being different”.

Kelly added: “I am terrified but I want to raise awareness of the cancer I have.

“It’s not just about having chemo and radiotherapy and then getting better or passing away – I have to live with this forever.”

To donate to cancer research through Kelly’s brave the shave, click here.

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