A family from Yardley has braved the shave, raising over £3,000 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, in support of four-year-old daughter Poppy, who had to give up her own hair to undergo a life-changing operation on her skull.

Soon after Poppy Lloyd was born, she was diagnosed with Craniosynostosis, a rare condition which affects the development of the skull. In Poppy’s case, her skull had fused too soon, meaning that as she got older and her brain continued to grow in the limited space, it began to put pressure on her spine.

After monitoring Poppy’s condition since she was a baby, doctors at Birmingham Children’s Hospital broke the news to mum and dad, Kay and Graham, that Poppy would now need surgery to make more space for her brain to continue growing.

Poppy with Mum Kay, before her operation

When the Lloyd family found out that little Poppy would need to have her head shaved for the operation, dad Graham, uncles Mike and Andy, and family friend James quickly decided that they were going to join in too, to make sure Poppy didn’t feel self-conscious and to raise money to help do more for the hospital’s sick kids.

After creating their online fundraising page and sharing it with friends, family and colleagues far and wide, the family set a date and said goodbye to their lockdown locks, with Poppy and her twin sister, Annabelle, in control of the clippers.

A couple of weeks later, Poppy went into hospital for her operation and, after making an incision in her skull, doctors fitted pins and rods, which would need to be turned twice-daily to slowly expand it and make space for Poppy’s brain to keep growing.

Graham said: “Poppy’s operation was a huge success and after a day or so, she was up and about making friends with other children on the ward. Although Poppy was a bit upset to lose her hair, she knew she wasn’t alone. It took Annabelle a little while to get used to seeing her sister with no hair, but now they’re back to their usual selves, and Annabelle gets involved when it’s time to rotate Poppy’s pins.

“I can’t thank my brothers and James enough for braving the shave with me and supporting Poppy, and I’m so grateful to everyone who sponsored us.”

Miranda Williams, Head of Public Fundraising at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “Operations and procedures can be very scary for our brave patients, especially when the outcome means they may look a little different. Poppy had nothing to worry about with such a supportive family around her though, and the funds the Lloyds have raised will help us continue supporting the work of our fantastic hospital.”