Doctor embraces his rainbow roots to raise cash for hospice

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A palliative care consultant has stayed true to his promise of ‘embracing the rainbow’ by dying his hair after raising more than £2,000 for the charity he works for.

Dr Grahame Tosh is medical director at Havens Hospices, joining the organisation in February just before it opened the brand new Fair Havens in Prittlewell.

The 59 year old originally set a target of £750 for the charity’s ‘Bare Your Roots’ campaign but donations have totalled £2,111.

He jokingly says he was ‘ambushed’ by members of the Care Team at the hospice who took it upon themselves to set this fundraising challenge. Havens Hospices is experiencing a decline in fundraising income following the coronavirus pandemic which has cancelled or postponed all public events.

Dr Tosh, who also worked for the charity in the 1990’s, says, “I have tried to use ‘lockdown rules’ to avoid handing over my head of fine white hair but have been thwarted at every turn.

“Because we all work together in close proximity every day where it is impossible to ‘social distance,’ we can undertake this challenge safely using appropriate precautions. So there’s no escaping it!”

Rainbows have become the symbol of hope during the coronavirus pandemic. Nursing assistant Sue Cayzer, a former hairdresser, bleached Dr Tosh’s hair before nursing assistant Lee Shuter – no stranger to home hair colouring – added the colours.

This work was done during their own breaks. Grahame also committed to wearing a pair of bespoke rainbow scrubs, donated by The Dressmaker in Leigh on Sea.

Dr Tosh said: “Although I have been ‘tongue in cheek’ about the rainbow challenge, it’s been quite overwhelming to see the support this fundraising initiative has attracted. Working within the hospice, we can see the difference good palliative care can make to the experience of someone living with a complex or incurable condition.

“Our hospice care – both within the buildings and within our communities – are vital services. Colouring my hair to help contribute towards the charity’s fundraising efforts really is the least I can do.”

Fair Havens is supporting the NHS by opening all 16 beds at the hospice in Prittlewell to allow patients to be discharged from hospital which frees up acute beds and staff. The charity is also providing support to patients in the community through its Hospice at Home service, and offering support via telephone and videocalls.

Donations are still being accepted for Dr Tosh’s challenge – visit: www.justgiving.com/campaign/DrTosh

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]