Lauren’s ‘Big Haircut’ fundraiser for baby unit which saved sister’s life

A young woman has cut off her crowning glory to support the Trevor Mann Baby Unit (TMBU) at Brighton’s Royal Sussex County Hospital.

Lauren Whitehead, 21, has raised £837 for the specialist neonatal service, by parting with 18 inches of hair. She “smashed” her original target of £10 per inch, and has been “overwhelmed by the response.”

Lauren with mum Jo

Her mum Jo Hall said: “The Trevor Mann Baby Unit was an amazing place when I was there 22 years ago with Lauren’s sister Chloe, who was born 10 weeks early. More recently, Jothi, another baby very special to our family, has been cared for at TMBU as well.”

Lauren is autistic and has severe learning difficulties. Baby Jothi is the son of her carers, Kate Ogden and Kittie, and was born prematurely in June. Kate said: “We’re delighted that Lauren chose to support TMBU. Kittie and I spent two months visiting Jothi separately until restrictions eased. The staff nurses did an amazing job of supporting him, but also provided a safety net for us during a hugely emotional time. The care we received made going in each day more bearable.”

Jo at TMBU with Chloe

Lauren and Kate

Lauren is working hard to become an independent young adult but, “her beautiful hair was very long and increasingly difficult to manage,” said Jo, “This was why she decided to do something practical, and at the same time, say a massive thank you to the staff at TMBU for all they do.”

Lauren’s donation to BSUH Charity will be used to improve the experience of patients and staff. But the big-hearted young woman has not stopped there. She has also given her locks to the Little Princess Trust, which provides real hair wigs for children and young people with hair loss, and helps fund research into childhood cancer.

Support Lauren’s fundraiser here.