York mum to have four foot long dreadlocks shaved off after 11 years to support Martin House Children’s Hospice

A York mum is taking on a transformational head shave after 11 years of growing dreadlocks to support Martin House Children’s Hospice in memory of her son.

Saturday, 26th June 2021, 11:45 am
Updated Saturday, 26th June 2021, 11:53 am

Jessica Herbert, an abroiculturist at Askham Byram College, has already raised more than £3,000 for the Boston Spa hospice after the “truly outstanding” support she and her husband, Simon received after their son, Oaken, sadly passed away at just two days old.

The transformational head shave is set to take place on Saturday, July 31 at the Deer Shed Festival Base Camp Plus event in Baldersby Park.

The event will see Jessica losing her 4ft 2in dreadlocks after a staggering 11 years with the style.

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York mum to have four foot long dreadlocks shaved off after 11 years to support Martin House Children’s Hospice

Oaken, who was diagnosed with a life-limited genetic condition called Edwards Syndrome at Jessica’s 12 week scan, was born in August and died two days later at Martin House.

He was surrounded by his family, including sister, Willow, 5, a situation made possible after careful planning from the hospice.

Jessica said: “He was a brave little man who had so much character but his medical difficulties were too severe and there was little the wonderful medical teams involved could do to help him so we went to Martin House.

“Martin House provided support to us right from the start.

York mum to have four foot long dreadlocks shaved off after 11 years to support Martin House Children’s Hospice

"They helped us write a care plan which ensured our objectives were articulated to the various medics involved. I feel so lucky that a small number of family and friends were able to meet Oaken and to be a part of his life.”

The specialist children’s hospice also provided a cooled room where Jessica and her family were able to spend time with Oaken after he passed away, to make memories with him and organise arrangements for his funeral.

The family has since gone on to receive bereavement support from the hospice.

Jessica said: “The support we have received from Martin House has been truly outstanding and has made such a positive difference to us. They continue to support us now with counselling and other support and we are so very grateful to them for this.”

Despite her trepidation at shaving off the knee-length dreadlocks, Jessica is determined to give back to the charity that “continues to provide amazing support to families like ours”.

Jessica said: “I’m absolutely terrified but also a bit excited at the prospect of no longer stepping on my hair, shutting it in doors and sweeping the floor of public loos whilst helping my daughter!”

To donate to Jessica’s fundraising, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jessica-herbertdreadlockheadshave

Martin House cares for babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions from across West, North and East Yorkshire.

Its support includes planned respite stays, symptom control, emergency care, end of life care and bereavement support.

Every year Martin House cares for more than 420 children and their families, as well as around 150 bereaved families, at its hospice, in hospitals and in the community.