The story of a woman with breast cancer has gone viral after she chose to throw a ‘head shaving party’ to celebrate her first day of chemotherapy.
Amber Arkell, 26, from New Zealand, was diagnosed with stage one, grade three breast cancer in December 2015. Knowing that she would soon need to undergo treatment which would cause her to lose her hair anyway, Amber decided to take matters into her own hands, and get there before the chemo did.
‘I’m a bit of a control freak so as soon as I was diagnosed I was almost relieved as I could make a plan to shave my hair,’ she told the Daily Mail Australia.
‘As a female you really identify with your hair as something of beauty – I didn’t want to wait for it to fall out.’
Amber, who posts updates about her cancer journey on her Facebook page, When Things Went Tits Up, then went about planning a ‘Shave my head barbecue’ for her friends, family and other women with the condition who she’d met online.
‘Four women who suffer from breast cancer that I’d never met before but spoken to on Facebook came and it was incredibly emotional to have them there with me.
‘One of my friends even made a “booby cake” for the event.
‘It was such an amazing and beautiful day.’
She adds that while seeing her bald head for the first time in the mirror was overwhelming, it was also an emotional, rewarding experience.
‘I got one of my best friends and my partner to come into the bathroom with me, I walked in backwards, took a deep breath and saw my face. I think this was the first time I saw natural beauty. No hair to shape my face or pick my best side – it was raw and real,’ she explained.
Since the celebration, Amber has continued with her treatment and been in and out of hospital, but still shares her honest updates with her Facebook followers, reaching women as far around the world as Egypt.
‘It’s a liberating and empowering feeling and I am so pleased I did it,’ she says.