Norwich father shows solidarity with ill daughter

Brogan Didwell and her father James Didwell: Submitted Brogan Didwell and her father James Didwell: Submitted

David Bale david.bale2@archant.co.uk
Saturday, July 12, 2014
7:30 AM

A father showed solidarity with his ill daughter by shaving his head when she started losing her hair while undergoing chemotherapy, and then grew his hair and beard for a year for her chosen charity.

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Brogan Didwell and her father James Didwell: SubmittedBrogan Didwell and her father James Didwell: Submitted

Jimmy Didwell did not want his daughter Brogan Didwell to go through the traumatic experience of losing her hair on her own.

He has now had his hair cut and is clean-shaven while his daughter, who will be seven tomorrow, is on the road to full recovery.

Mr Didwell, from Norwich, said: “My little girl Brogan was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in June last year. After a few weeks of treatment she began to lose her hair and when the time came for her to have it shaved I decided to join her in having my head shaved also.

“I then told her I would grow my hair and beard for a whole year for her chosen charity Acorn House The Sick Children’s Trust. On completion I raised £1,910.

“Myself, my wife Sarah and our two boys Tyler, 12, and Faron, 10, are so proud of our little star. She’s loved by so many people and is my heroine. Her treatment is going very well and she’s on the road to a full recovery.

“Thanks to all that have supported our family through this tough year.”

Last November Brogan received a national Cancer Research UK Little Star Award after she was nominated by her mother for her courage in battling cancer.

The youngster was diagnosed with the condition after becoming generally unwell and developing pains in her legs. Her parents believe their daughter’s life may have been saved by the sudden illness of her brother Faron, whose total loss of sight in one eye due to a virus prevented the family from going on holiday to Greece in soaring temperatures – a climate which could have proved fatal to his then undiagnosed sister.

Brogan was initially diagnosed with a throat infection but her mother insisted on a blood test because she was sure something more serious was wrong. They were then told their daughter had cancer. The family was sent to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge for bone marrow tests and a diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia was made.

Brogan’s treatment has included an intensive course of chemotherapy and despite a lengthy stay in hospital because of an infection, she remained bubbly and resilient, amazing the staff by insisting on going to the hospital school instead of staying in bed.

Have you got a story about a family member defying the odds? Email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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