A SPONSORED headshave and a month of wild swimming helped Nicola Wheeler raise a magnificent £4,729 for Airedale Hospital’s Haematology and Oncology Day Unit (HODU).

Nicola, from Silsden, also held a barbecue and an afternoon tea party for friends and family in August and asked for donations to add to her fundraising total.

HODU provides care for patients with a variety of haematology and oncology conditions, many of who visit the unit on a regular basis for chemotherapy and other treatments.

Nicola decided to raise money for the hospital after a friend was diagnosed with cancer and originally set a target of £300.

“My friend and colleague was diagnosed with terminal cancer just before new year 2021," she said.

"Unable to fix it, and feeling completely hopeless, I decided to shave my head for charity along with a wild swim every day in April when the water temperature was between 8c and 15c to do my bit.

“She had already had a couple of rounds of treatment when I asked her where she would like the money to go. She had been so overwhelmed by the care and support she received on HODU, that she said right away she'd like it to go to them.

"As her treatment progressed, she mentioned that there was a refurbishment starting soon, so I arranged a barbecue and an afternoon tea party to raise a bit more. I'd set my initial target at £300 so I'm delighted with the final total.

“I had lots of support from family and friends and colleagues and couldn’t have done any of it without them; some even got in the river with me.”

Thanks to charitable donations and the support of the Airedale community, Airedale Hospital and Community Charity is currently funding a £175,000 refurbishment of HODU which is due to be complete next month.

Ciara Walsh, from Airedale Hospital and Community Charity, said:

“Nicola has done a fabulous job fundraising for HODU and we’re all really grateful for her hard work and ongoing support.

“I’d like to say a huge thank you to Nicola on behalf of everyone at Airedale. Her donation will make a huge difference and will allow the HODU team to invest in new and innovative equipment to benefit future patients.”

Airedale Hospital and Community Charity is the official NHS charity for Airedale NHS Foundation Trust and handles all charitable donations on behalf of the Trust.

If you would like to donate to Airedale HODU please visit: www.airedalecharity.org/donate-to-one-of-our-appeals/