Hassocks cancer patient inspires Great British Hair Off

Chris Andrews was diagnosed with leukaemia. Chris Andrews with his wife Lizzie and son Alfi (centre). Pic Steve Robards SUS-150127-165417001
Chris Andrews was diagnosed with leukaemia. Chris Andrews with his wife Lizzie and son Alfi (centre). Pic Steve Robards SUS-150127-165417001

A family is rallying together to raise money for charity after a beloved son and brother was diagnosed with leukaemia.

Chris Andrews, 29, from Hassocks, was diagnosed last year and his family have reacted by striving to raise money for cancer research.

His dad is shaving his moustache, known as ‘the slug’, and his head.

Chris’ brother Pete said: “It’s completely against the grain for dad. Nobody can ever remember him without a moustache, and to shave your head for a man in his 60s, is a big thing for him! He said he would get his head shaved and it has just snowballed from there.”

The dedicated dad is grateful to employers of 20 years at Dinnages Garages, where he has worked for nearly 20 years, who have given him time off to support Chris and his family.

Pete Andrews and friends David Simmons, of The Thatched Inn, Hassocks and David Dawes are also shaving their heads to raise money.

Pete joked: “It’s three Daves and me. I might as well be Dave!”

The group met their target of £5,000 in just two weeks, and have upped their goal to £10,000.

They are holding The Great British Hair Off at The Thatched Inn on February 7 at 3pm.

Chris completed one cycle of chemotherapy at The Royal Marsden Hospital, Sutton over Christmas.

“Missing his first Christmas with his little boy Alfie,” Pete said.

The treatment was a success, as he now has 0.1% leukaemia cells in his latest bone marrow test compared to 56% when he was omitted. Less than 5% is considered remission.

“Whilst this is fantastic news, the leukaemia is likely to return and therefore he needs to undergo another batch of chemo,” Pete said.

“The best news is that we found out over New Year that I’m a perfect bone marrow match for him.

“Providing Chris gets past a couple of complications that mean the transplant won’t work and if his body accepts the transplant, there’s a very high chance that this will cure him.”

Chris is scheduled for the bone marrow transplant in March.

Pete continued: “We are all cool with it now. It was a bit of a shock, one day your brother is all right and the next you’re being told he’s got leukaemia.”

The family are Christian, with Chris recently converted to the faith.

The fundraiser at The Thatched Inn will have a Crystal Palace theme.

“He’s a Crystal Palace fan, for his sins,” Pete added.

The event will include Crystal Palace FC Crystals who will collect money, take photos and perform.

Comedian Jim Daly will compere and perform stand up.

Palace mascots Pete and Alice will entertain kids and a signed Crystal Palace shirt, 20 litres of beer, a brewery tour and £100 of Pets Corner vouchers will be won in a raffle.

The day will feature a home made cake sale, face painting and more prizes to be won.

Pete said the event will be ‘family focussed’ as they celebrate the recent good news of Chris’ remission.

All money raised will be donated to Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.

“We’ve been blown away by the support of family, friends and people we know though work,” Pete added.

Donate at www.justgiving.com/ChrissyPalace5/