A MUM-OF-TWO is having her hair shaved off ahead of having a brain tumour removed.
Joanna McKee, who lives in Leek, has decided to give something back before having an operation to remove a tumour.
Joanna, who works as assistant pastoral lead at Leek High School, was first told about the tumour in her brain in March last year.
She explained: “I had self-diagnosed myself with epilepsy. I have mild epilepsy which I have had for around 12 years.
“It doesn’t really affect my every day life apart from I am not allowed to drive which is awful as I have to rely on others.
“I had been researching more about epilepsy, which triggered me to go to the doctor for some tests.
“This was in January of last year and then by March they discovered the tumour.
“I was in shock for the first week after they told me - it didn't really sink in. But then by the second week I was in pieces and had to take some time off work.”
The benign tumour is situated in Joanna’s right Temperal Lobe, which controls the memory function of her brain.
Joanna, aged 41, is now waiting for a date for when surgeons will be able to remove the tumour.
She said: "It is horrible waiting for a date. It will be at Birmingham Hospital and I will stay in for around five days, and then need two to three months for recovery.”
In the meantime, Joanna is concentrating on raising funds for the Brain Tumour Charity.
She is collecting sponsorship for when she will have her hair on her head completely shaved off prior to the operation.
The head shaving will be carried out by Joanna’s colleagues, Alex Kenneth and Lindsey-Marie Taylor.
Joanna said: “Alex and Lindsey have been really supportive both emotionally and also by picking me up for work each day.
“I would like to thank them for being so supportive. The headteacher, John Spencer, has also been great as he said I can have the head shave carried out at school, and there will be a Hats and Wigs Day at the same time to raise more funds for the charity.”
Joanna added: “The surgery can be done through my hair or with a small shaved area, but I have decided to shave my whole head to raise awareness and funds for The Brain Tumour Charity.
“The charity is more for the research of cancerous brain tumours, but I just can’t imagine what that would be like.
“I don’t really have a target of how much I would like to raise but I have raised £300 so far, which is great."
Anyone wishing to sponsor Joanna can go online to www.justgiving.com/joannahiggins -mckee. Alternatively there are collection boxes in place at The Blue Mugge in Osbourne Street, in Leek High School’s reception, Fresh Hair in High Street, and at Getliffe’s Restaurant in Getliffe's Yard, off Derby Street, Leek.