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Becontree mum raises £750 by tattooing head in honour of girl, 13, who died after twice beating cancer

PUBLISHED: 12:00 10 November 2020 | UPDATED: 09:07 12 November 2020

L-R: Jo Applegarth and Eloise. Picture: Jo Applegarth

L-R: Jo Applegarth and Eloise. Picture: Jo Applegarth

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A woman has shaved and tattooed her head in tribute to a 13-year-old girl who died after beating leukaemia twice.

The saying was chosen by Eloise. Picture: Jo ApplegarthThe saying was chosen by Eloise. Picture: Jo Applegarth

Eloise Taylor from Dagenham won her battle with the rare blood cancer acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, which was first diagnosed when she was nine.

But sadly the treatment, including rounds of chemo and radiotherapy, proved too much for her and she died on January 16.

Eloise hit the headlines in December when she asked for donations to Children with Cancer UK instead of Christmas presents. The youngster raised more than £6,000.

Mum-of-two Jo Applegarth – a cousin of Eloise’s mum Tanya – has so far raised £750 in donations by having her head shaved and tattooed for the same cause.

Tattoo artist, George, gets to work on Jo. Picture: Jo ApplegarthTattoo artist, George, gets to work on Jo. Picture: Jo Applegarth

Originally, the 38-year-old planned the shave for January, partly to raise money towards the cost of a trial treatment. After Eloise’s death, Jo fixed a date in June but that could not go ahead because of the pandemic.

But Jo, determined to honour Eloise, took the plunge on November 2.

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She said: “It was really emotional. It brought back feelings from when I was going to do it before. The fact that she is not here to see it...

Jo before and after partner Glenn Lydon, shaved off her locks. Picture: Jo ApplegarthJo before and after partner Glenn Lydon, shaved off her locks. Picture: Jo Applegarth

“But it’s for a good cause. Eloise’s parents were very emotional. They said thank you and that Eloise would be really proud of me.”

The tattoo is of a saying chosen by Eloise and reads: “Sometimes real superheroes live in the hearts of small children fighting big battles. Eloise”.

It was done for free by tattoo artist George at The Lucky 7 studio in Romford.

Jo, from Becontree, admitted feeling nervous in the run-up to shaving her hair. And it turned out to be a shock not just for her, but for her five-year-old son, Jacob, too. She described the tatooing itself as “a white knuckle ride”.

But Jo explained how losing her hair and going through the pain of a tattoo was nothing compared to the experience of people battling cancer.

“It puts things in perspective. Eloise beat the cancer twice. But the treatment just made her really poorly. The chemo, the radiation, that was the tip of the iceberg.

“But the purpose was to raise the money in honour of Eloise and I’ve done that,” Jo said.

Visit Justgiving.com to donate.


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