AFC Bournemouth’s youth team are defying the stereotype of modern footballers by shaving their heads to raise money for EB charity DEBRA, after meeting inspirational local youngster Mason White.
Joe Roach, Carl Fletcher and the youth team met five-year-old Mason, who suffers from the incurable skin condition epidermolysis bullosa (EB), at the end of August and were so moved with his plight that they decided to shave their heads to raise awareness and funds.
EB affects around 5,000 people in the UK and means that sufferers are missing the important sticky layer of protein, collagen seven, that binds layers of skin together and as a result, Mason has his skin bandaged up to prevent blistering caused by even the slightest of knocks.
“Mason’s Mum came in and spoke to us about him, and we decided to look into some ideas about how we could raise some money and awareness for his condition,” second year apprentice Joe Quigley explained.
“It was really touching. It got to all the lads and I am sure they will all say it was quite sad. We decided that we wanted to do as much as possible to raise awareness for the condition and help Mason himself.”
The boys opened a ‘Just Giving’ page at the end of August, and with donations coming from far and wide, at the time of writing the total currently stands at over £1,800.
“We want to get it up to £5000 now,” second year apprentice Matt Butcher added. “We just want to get as many people involved as possible – around the club and beyond – to get them to donate and to get the total up.”
“There has been a knock on effect – our family members are talking about it and then people keep getting involved and donating.”
Mason will join the youth team at the home match against Wigan Athletic later in September, and will be introduced on the pitch as the boys bid to raise the profile of the fundraiser even further.
“Our message to the supporters is just that we would like them to help by donating,” first year Henry Lander added.
“We want to raise as much money as we can but we also need to raise awareness, to try and find a cure for Mason’s disease.”
“Or if people want to do it, they should shave their head and put it on social media to raise awareness and try and nominate people to try and get them involved too. The more people that get involved the better.”
To donate, please visit bit.ly/TheBigShave