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"Inspirational" girl, 10, who lost dad to cancer raises money with charity hair cut

After losing her father to lung cancer in 2021, a young girl chopped off 16 inches of her hair for charity this morning, April 5, in honour of what would have been his 40th birthday.

Liara Handley, from Dukinfield, has been raising money for the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation and will be donating her hair to the Little Princess Trust, where it will be made into a wig for a child with cancer.

Sadly, Liam Handley lost his battle with lung cancer on October 4, 2021. It was his wish that rather than flowers at his funeral, donations should be made to the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation Charity.

"He was a fit, young guy - a chef by trade," Liam's dad, Gordon, said.

"He developed a few problems but when he went to the doctors he was dismissed and told to go away and take some pain killers. Sadly, the whole time the underlying factor was that he had lung cancer and it was spreading throughout his body."

He added that he feels there's a "stigma" around young, non-smokers having lung cancer and that this is the reason Liam was dismissed so quickly by medical practitioners.

Gordon continued: "It was almost immediately after finding out that Liam had cancer that we knew it was incurable. Within 12 hours of him being admitted into hospital, we were told it was stage 4.

"We thought he was going to die that weekend but we got him onto some treatment which was partly successful and pushed the cancer back for a little while but sadly it got past that and we lost him."

"He just kept saying how unfair it was," Louise, Liam's wife, added.

"He was scared and when he knew he was dying, he just kept saying 'what about the kids?' because they're so young."

Gordon added: "People can look at the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation's own website for all the amazing things they do. They pushed to get CT scans offered to everyone, which is something we've also been pushing for, because at the moment it's only for smokers but the NHS have agreed and rolled out a program to screen anyone."

Through donations the Foundation are able to fund vital research to ensure better outcomes for patients with lung cancer in the future by increased survival rates, support lung cancer patients and their families and prevent the next generation from getting lung cancer.

The public were invited down to Pisces Hair Studio on Lodge Lane at 11am to support Liara for her big cut.

Prior to getting her hair cut, Louise said: "That particular hairdressers is where she's gone since she was very, very young. We'll be making some cakes for on the day and people can turn up to watch and donate too.

"She's got lovely long blonde hair down to her lower back. She's always called it 'princess hair' but she's decided she wants to have it cut just above her shoulders in dedication to her daddy to raise money for the charity. She's very excited, she can't wait and she thinks it'll be more manageable having it short."

The 10-year-old also received a letter from Jonathan Reynolds MP, which read: "I wanted to drop you a line to say that I have heard about your 'big haircut' which you have organised in memory of your much-loved daddy, Liam. This is a wonderful thing that you are doing, and I know your mummy and your whole family are incredibly proud of you.

"Thank you for being so kind and so thoughtful, you are a true inspiration and I wish you the best of luck with your event."

The family also have an online fundraiser which can be donated to here: https://liamhandley.muchloved.com.

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