Teen’s headshave brings in more than £5,500 for terminally ill dad
PUBLISHED: 17:00 05 August 2020 | UPDATED: 13:00 06 August 2020
A 15-year-old girl from Portishead shaved her head and raised more than £5,500 towards her terminally ill dad’s wish list thanks to donations from the community.
Annaliza Lockner-Atkinson hoped to raise £1,500 for her dad Gary Atkinson, aged 53, following his cancer diagnosis last October.
Annaliza wanted to make some of her dad’s dreams come true, which include a hot air balloon ride, a family holiday abroad and to drive or ride in a Lamborghini.
People living and working in the town were so touched by the family’s plight after we reported their story last month, that offers of Lamborghini rides, hot air balloon trips and cash donations came flooding in, taking the amount raised way past the initial target.
Many friends, family and people from the area turned up to support Annalilza as she had her head shaved at the Flower Show Field, which took place in conjunction with a cake sale.
Getting used to her new look, Annaliza said: “I had a fab day. I’m still amazed and speechless by all the support.
“Thank you everyone who got involved in sharing my story and donating. I feel very weird without hair right now, but it was worth it,
“I hope to put some memories with my dad in place with the money raised.”
Pleased with how the day went, mum Konnie Atkinson said: “It went really well, loads turned up. She was very shocked afterwards and is taking time to get used to her new look. We are really proud of her and think she looks amazing.”
Gary, who is due to start chemotherapy again this week, said: “My heart sank for her when I saw the first plait cut off, but with gritted teeth she carried on and I’m immensely proud of what she has done, and what she has raised by doing this.
“She is a very strong young lady. I couldn’t be more honoured to be her dad, I am so proud of what she has achieved in such a short space of time.
“I would also like to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone that turned up in support and donated. I’m so proud to live in Portishead.”
Generous people from the community have also been helping Gary achieve some of his goals.
Joe Woolands, aged 34, from Portishead, is planning to swim 21 miles to help raise funds,
Joe heard about Gary’s illness through his daughter’s childminder – who also looks after Gary and Konnie’s son Archie.
Impressed with the family’s fundraising efforts, Joe aims to raise £1,000 in four weeks, by swimming the distance of the English Channel in open water.
Joe said: “After watching the Great British Swim, I thought something swimming related could be a fun idea.
“I have always been an OK swimmer but have never covered any distance, especially in open water.”
Joe first learnt the necessary swimming technique before approaching Konnie with the idea, and now trains five to six days a week in the lake.
He continued: “The support I have received so far has been amazing and I managed to smash my target in two days.
“I have had lots of messages from people offering to swim parts of the 21 miles with me for support.”
Richard James, from Nailsea, was contacted by a former colleague, after he read our report on the family’s fundraising and Gary’s wish to ride in a Lamborghini.
He asked his boss, who owns a roadster version of the luxury car, if he could take Gary out for a spin, which was agreed.
Richard said: “It was nice to see Gary with a smile on his face, from the moment he got in the car.
“I brought Gary back to my boss’s house as a surprise, he got to see some cars he that he never thought he would see in his life time.”
Konnie added: “We want to say a massive thank you to everyone who has supported us, shared and donated.
“It’s been really overwhelming for Annaliza, and for us as a family.”
To donate on the family’s Just Giving page, log on to www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/annaliza-lockner-1?utm_term=6jErPKZXj
Joe’s crowdfunding page will be open until the end of August and you can donate by logging on to www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/joe-woodland-channel-swim?utm_term=yVPA4A2Qx
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