“Sweet” girl’s brain cancer death inspires Wear A Hat Day event

2 min read

A “sweet” Hertfordshire girl has inspired two ukulele groups to take part in a Wear A Hat Day fundraiser more than six years after she died from brain cancer.

Holly Atkins Fooks, from St Albans, began suffering from migraines, pain behind her eyes, nausea and vomiting in July 2014.

Despite a scan revealing an abnormality on her brain, it was not until March 2016 that she was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

She underwent two debulking surgeries, six weeks of radiotherapy and three courses of chemotherapy but, sadly, her glioblastoma (GBM) continued to grow.

By the time she died in September 2017, Holly was blind and had been bedbound for several months. She was just 11 years old.

Her grandmother Jacky Atkins, from Hemel Hempstead, said: “Holly’s heart fought to stay beating. It was strong and young, but the evil forces of the brain tumour finally overcame her body and her heart stopped. It was the saddest day of my life.

“She was the sweetest, most beautiful girl, so loving and caring, and what she went through was awful.”

Having supported Wear A Hat Day since Holly’s death, Jacky has already raised enough money to sponsor a day of research at one of our four Centres of Excellence, each day costing £2,740.

The 73-year-old former teacher is now working towards sponsoring another day. She plays in two ukulele groups, the Last of the Summer Ukuleles based in Bedfordshire and the UkeRythmics based in Hertfordshire, which are donning hats during performances and collecting donations.

The UkeRythmics celebrated Wear A Hat Day on 20th March and the Last of the Summer Ukuleles will celebrate with a performance at the Anchor Pub in Tilsworth, Bedfordshire, from midday on 27th March.

Jacky said: “Research is the only way they’re going to find a cure. I hope our support helps prevent other families from having to go through what we did.”

There’s still time to get involved in Wear A Hat Day on Thursday. It can be as simple as wearing a hat, making a donation and sharing a selfie on social media using #WearAHatDay and tagging Brain Tumour Research. Every pound adds up and will help find a cure for brain tumours.

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