Shaving all your hair off on your 10th birthday might not sound appealing to some but for nine-year-old Jay, he was excited to raise money for a charity close to his heart.
As a son of a serving soldier, Jay wanted to do something extreme to help raise money for Help For Heroes.
The charity is helping his Dad, Colour Serjeant Jack Horner from 3 RIFLES, to recover from a back injury. He said:
“My Dad’s in the Army and he injured his back and he goes to rehab quite a bit and it would help him.”
Jay’s dad was injured while on a training exercise in Kenya many years ago and since then has visited the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court several times for rehab.
In May 2019, Jack injured his back again and by Christmas the pain was becoming unbearable. An emergency MRI scan showed that Jack had Cauda Equina Syndrome.
The lower part of his spinal cord was trapped and emergency surgery was necessary to prevent paralysis.
After the surgery the young Liverpool FC fan wanted to do anything he could to help his Dad who suddenly faced losing his independence as he could no longer drive and had to get around on crutches. Speaking with BFBS Radio broadcaster, Mark McKenzie, Jack said:
“My son Jay, completely out of the blue, came down one day and said he wanted to shave his head to raise money for Help For Heroes and we were totally taken aback by it.”
For a young boy, who rated his hair as a “9.5 out of 10” before the big shave, cutting it all off was a big deal. As shown in the video below, Jay's hair was his pride and joy, something his parents were aware of. Jay’s dad said:
“We almost tried to discourage him from shaving his hair off because he loved his hair so much.
“Every morning, before he’d leave the house, he’d always make sure his hair was pristine, so we didn’t actually think he was serious about it.”
Jay’s parents encouraged him to write a letter to Help For Heroes to explain why he wanted to shave his hair off, in an attempt to give him time to decide if he really wanted to go ahead with his plan. To his parent's surprise, Jay didn’t waste any time getting his plan into action. His Dad said:
“The following morning, we came downstairs and Jay was sat at the kitchen table writing his letter to Help For Heroes saying that he wanted to raise some money.”
Since shaving his head, the young football fan has discovered that his new hairless look has benefits. He said:
“When I'm going on my bike and I go through wind, it feels super nice.”
If Jay’s hairy sacrifice has inspired you to donate to Help For Heroes, visit www.helpforheroes.org.uk/donate-online and use Jay’s name as a reference.