Stevenage girl, 7, set for haircut to raise cancer treatment cash

Francesca with her younger sister Monica.

Francesca with her younger sister Monica. - Credit: Archant

A seven-year-old girl from Stevenage is chopping off her long locks to raise money for children who have lost their hair through cancer treatment.

Francesca Sciangula has witnessed the impact the disease can have from an early age, after her sister Monica was diagnosed with cancer on her lower eye muscle at the age of two in March 2011.

Francesca will be saying goodbye to her flowing hair on September 22 in front of her Year 3 classmates at the town’s St Vincent de Paul Catholic Primary School to raise funds for the Little Princess Trust, which provide real hair wigs for cancer sufferers.

Monica and Francesa’s mother, Masako Sciangula, said: “We didn’t want to believe what had happened, but Monica was such an amazing little girl. She was so strong and brave, never complaining about what life had dealt her. She always had such a lovely smile.”

After Monica underwent six months of chemotherapy, the Sciangula family believed their luck had turned, but in February 2012 her tumour returned.

Masako said: “We had a really happy Christmas but we were heartbroken when we were told she to go through it all over again. Her hair had just started to grow nicely at that time and I didn’t want to tell her she was going to lose her hair again.”

The doctors at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge sent Monica and her family to Jacksonville in Florida for proton radiotherapy, a cancer treatment that is not currently available in the UK. After just two months in the USA doctors saw a rapid improvement, and Monica is now a fit and healthy six-year-old.

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Masako said: “Monica is delightful! A sweet girl who is always loving her friends and family. She likes to be a princess and wears flaring skirts or dresses. She likes singing, dancing, jumping around like a monkey, and loves helping me cooking.

“We could never forget how Monica was before, and always need to be thankful that she is here right now. As we have no family in this country, it was difficult to find someone who could look after Francesca while Monica was in the hospital. But it was almost destiny that our friends, Maria Jones and her daughter Lani Hopkins-Jones, who are like family now, helped us a lot.

“Francesca must have had a difficult time as I was always with Monica in the hospital. She never had the attention she wanted from her parents when she was only three.

“On top of this she has recently lost her grandma to cancer, which has only increased her enthusiasm to help others with the disease. I think she is extremely brave to chop her hair off in front of everyone.”

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