Close shaves in order for North Herts cancer campaigners

PUBLISHED: 10:00 14 August 2016

Matt Porter is raising money for Macmillan in memory of his sister Helen.

Matt Porter is raising money for Macmillan in memory of his sister Helen.

Archant

Two brave men have taken up the Brave the Shave challenge to raise money for MacMillan Cancer Support in memory of relatives who died after being diagnosed with the disease.

Helen and Matt, before Helen became ill.Helen and Matt, before Helen became ill.

Harry Spindler, of Highfield in Letchworth, signed up to Brave the Shave to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support after his grandad died from lung cancer in April this year, aged 91.

The 20-year-old’s dad, Martin, promised to also have his head shaved if his son managed to raise more than his £150 target. With £1,645 secured for Macmillan, the pair went to The Groom Room in Letchworth together on Friday to get their drastic new looks.

Harry, who works at The Standing Order in Stevenage, said: “My loving grandad passed away after a short battle with lung cancer. A lot of aspects of my life and how I live it were influenced by spending so much time with him as a kid.

“I really wanted to do something to help him in the time running up to his death, but unfortunately I couldn’t.

Harry SpindlerHarry Spindler

“Braving the shave is my way of trying to give something back and remembering my grandad the right way.”

Martin, 52, added: “He only had a week or two to live when he was diagnosed, so it was a shock. We just thought he was going to be around forever.

“It’s brilliant, what we have raised, and we are both so proud.”

Helen Porter was a pupil at Hitchin Girls’ School when she lost her 18-month battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1982.

Martin SpindlerMartin Spindler

Her brother Matt was just 13 when she died.

Now he is also Braving the Shave in her memory.

He said: “Support for Helen and our family and friends was quite sparse at the time.

“There was little or no help available, which of course affected my schooling and personal life.

Martin Spindler, left, with son Harry, right.Martin Spindler, left, with son Harry, right.

“Now, Macmillan nurses are available to support patients and their families. This vital help, especially for young siblings, provides that emotional crutch that is so needed during periods of illness.”

On Monday, Matt is having his head shaved in Helen’s memory, and has so far raised £1,370 for Macmillan.

He said: “When Helen was treated with chemotherapy, she began to lose her hair, but soldiered on bravely wearing a headscarf or wig.

“She was incredibly brave and battled until the end. I would like to Brave the Shave in memory of the battle which she, and many of my close family, fought and lost.

Harry and Martin Spindler before the shaveHarry and Martin Spindler before the shave

“All the money I raise will mean Macmillan can support people who are facing a difficult time so that they can start to feel more in control of their lives.”

Helen’s family still live in Hitchin, and every year Hitchin Girls’ School gives The Helen Porter Award to a Year 11 pupil for outstanding performance in biology.

To sponsor Matt, visit www.bravetheshave.org.uk/shavers/matt-porter.

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