Determined Clachan woman braved the Macmillan shave

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Throughout nearly six years battling cancer a resilient Clachan woman has retained a full head of hair.

Despite a long course of chemotherapy, starting in 2013, 71-year-old pensioner, Christiane Burns, said that her thick hair never fell out – until last Tuesday when she ‘braved the shave’ to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Christiane, who was brought up in Clachan and has returned, said: ‘My twin sister died from cancer the day before her 39th birthday, so I always knew one day it would get me.

‘I am braving the shave because the Macmillan nurses have been so supportive throughout my illness and especially at Lochgilphead hospital.

‘Various other members of my family have had cancer and nobody knows when they might need Macmillan nurses.’

The shave did not quite go according to plan. A mobile hairdresser booked for 5pm failed to attend, possibly due to a hold-up on the A83.

At the last minute, Christiane’s carer Glynis Lewin, who served an apprenticeship as a hairdresser stepped into the breach.

Glynis, who has become a good friend of Christiane, said: ‘When I left school I trained as a hairdresser.

‘This is not a beauty pageant it is razoring that is important.’

Christiane was determined to finish completely bald, which looked like it might be impossible with the craft scissors available. So Glynis sent the Courier reporter to the village shop for razors and shaving foam.

During the shave, Christiane, who is in remission, spoke of her cancer experience.

She said: ‘I was first diagnosed in Todmorden, Calderdale, West Yorkshire in 2012.

‘At Hogmanay the doctor said I had ovarian cancer. At St James’s university hospital, Leeds, I had a kidney and bone marrow biopsy.

‘I was told I had stage four kidney failure and stage four Myeloma, which is bone marrow cancer.

‘The doctors told me they could not cure the cancer but it could be treated.

‘I had dialysis three times a week until July 2013. Everytime I closed my eyes I saw my mum, grandmother and aunt.

‘My family were told I would never come out of hospital but a month later, in August 2013, I was fine – obstacles are there to be overcome.

‘In November 2014 I had further chemotherapy with injections in my stomach and that course finished in July 2015.

As her illness progressed Christiane decided to return to Kintyre.

She said: ‘I’d left Clachan many years ago but came back as home is always home.’

At first, after returning to Clachan, Christiane had to travel to the Vale of Leven hospital until the Kintyre Dialysis Campaign raised funds for a Campbeltown machine.