A Fermanagh native, who identifies as non-binary and goes by the name of CK, has raised £1,900 for Macmillan Cancer Support after completing two fundraising events over one weekend.

The first of the fundraisers took place on Saturday, June 22, where CK, who is originally from Arney but currently travels between London and New York, had their head shaved with the intention that their hair will be used to create a wig that will benefit those who have involuntarily lost their hair during cancer treatment.

Over the last 18 months, CK has had five friends and a cousin diagnosed with cancer. “Three of them are in remission which is great, two of them continue to receive treatment and one of my close friends passed away over 18 months ago. They are all in their late 20s early 30s,” shared CK, who decided to host the fundraisers to show support for their friends.

Talking about shaving their head and how it felt, CK said: “Because of the run up to it and because of the reason I was doing it, it felt like the perfect time to do it. So I was ready for it at the time. Part of me felt liberated, but also I remember my best friend who passed away, she rocked it, she rocked having no hair, so I was thinking a lot about her.”

They continued: “I’m aware that my hair will grow back and I didn’t lose all of my hair, I didn’t lose my eyebrows or anything like that, so I was well aware of that. I was just thinking of those who don’t have a choice in losing their hair, whose identity is very much attached to what they look like, but for me, I just knew I was doing it for a good cause. For me it’s all been about the fundraising for Macmillan. It’s never been about me.”

“It was the right time and it was lovely to have my friends there for support but there were a few friends on my mind,” CK added.

The second fundraiser, which involved a 5K run, a workout and yoga, took place in London on Sunday, June 23 and approximately 35 people took part. Telling this newspaper that there was a “great energy” on the day, CK noted that although they were fundraising, they had fun whilst doing so.

CK said: “Laughter is medicine for the soul and I use my social media platform as a means for humour which again allows for conversation and laughter for times when people may need it most with what they’re going through.”

They added: “I am passionate about partaking in all aspects of self-care and small everyday acts of kindness. Also encouraging people not to sweat the small stuff in life.”

Having completed the two fundraising events, CK noted that they were “delighted” to have raised £1,900 so far for Macmillan Cancer Support through the cross-fit charity Battle Cancer. They said: “I’m delighted and over the moon with it because I didn’t have a big expectation, it’s definitely nearly double the amount that I’d intended to raise which is great.”

As well as raising money for the cancer charity, CK highlighted that the weekend was was also about allowing and encouraging an open dialogue within the realms of life, suffering, death and grieving.

CK said: “It opened up the conversation for those who have lost family or friends and also the people that are going through treatment. It opens the dialogue and I think sometimes, with cancer and grief, it’s not necessarily that people don’t want to talk about it, it’s just they don’t know what to say.”

“I’m just flying that flag for self care and conversation. Talking about it and allowing yourself to feel what you feel, when you feel it,” added CK.

“I’m really grateful for those who helped organise, donated and took part and also those who reached out with their stories,” CK concluded.