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Tom, 18, shaves hair for charity
FOR MOST patients diagnosed with cancer, helping other people is the last thing on their minds.
For teenager Tom Bowdidge, of West Bergholt, it was all the motivation he needed to start fundraising.
The former Colchester Royal Grammar School sixth former was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive stomach cancer the day after he collapsed at work.
Initially doctors thought it was appendicitis but less than 24 hours later they broke the news he had a large turmour in his abdomen.
Less than 24 hours later he was diagnosed with cancer of the stomach lining after a large mass was found in his abdomen.
Tom, 18, is undergoing an intense six month bout of chemotherapy where he spends four days at University College London Hospital before heading home for nine days of rest.
Despite being too weak to walk up the stairs most days, Tom is fundraising for the Teenager Cancer Trust, which is supporting him.
A month into his fight, Tom decided to shave off his hair as a fundraising stunt.
The brave teenager, of Firmins Court, said: “I thought my hair is going to fall out.
“It’s going to be really itchy and come out on my pillow and I don’t really want that. Let’s shave it off before it happens.
“I’m going to wear it with pride, almost promote it.”
Tom only decided to do it on Sunday night and he and his sister Emma, 21, sat down together to create a Just Giving page.
By Thursday he had raised more than £3,000.
He said: “I thought I was only going to raise a couple of hundred pounds.
“It means so much my friends are spending their money to sponsor me.
“Everyone was so concerned but I’m really excited. I’m up for it now.”
Doctors have been unable to give Tom and his family a time frame for how long he could be battling cancer as it is so rare.
But the teenager is remaining positive and is looking forward to getting back to his normal life.
Tom said: “They said ‘don’t look to the future too much’.
“It’s hard seeing everyone, my family and friends, so upset.
“But I’m just taking it as it comes. I’m a really good patient because I let them do whatever.
“I’m looking forward to being normal again and having the strength to walk up the stairs more than once a day. I miss the normality of life.”
Mum and dad Nikki and Richard Bowdidge and sister Emma could not be prouder of Tom.
But they could not be prouder of Tom, who has insisted life goes on as much as possible, including Emma’s 21st birthday party only four days after his diagnosis.
Nikki, who stays with Tom when he has chemo, said: “This is giving him a bit of an uplift.
“The support and people’s messages have been phenomenal.
“Tom’s so inspirational, he’s always looking out for other people before himself.”
To sponsor Tom go to www.justgiving.com/Tom-Bowdidge