A terminally-ill woman from Derby has shaved her head and had a unicorn painted on it, to fundraise for local charity Treetops Hospice Care.

Jo Butlin, 47yrs, from Shelton Lock, attends the Day Care Services at Treetops once a week and wanted a way to thank the hospice for the care she receives.

Treetops, based in Risley, provides nursing care and emotional support for adults with life limiting conditions living in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

Jo explained:

“I am a brittle asthmatic which means I can become severely poorly within minutes. Because of the medication I’m on to try and control it, it’s caused me to become diabetic and I also have a heart problem.

“Treetops is one place I feel safe because my condition is so up and down. I like to be where I can be safe and there’s help if I need it.”


It felt weird but it was lots of fun

Jo’s head shave took place on Friday 31 August at her regular Day Care session at Treetops and was streamed live on the Treetops Facebook page (@treetopshospicecare):

“It was so different to going to the hair dressers for a trim! It felt weird but it was lots of fun and now I’m thinking about the wigs I can wear and style afterwards. I can have a different hairstyle and colour every day and that’s going to be so much fun!”***

Nothing is too much for any of the staff. It’s so loving and caring here

Jo’s medical condition has deteriorated which means coming to Treetops has become even more important to her:

“Gradually I’ve got to the point where this is my only day out. Coming here – it’s a safe and friendly environment. Nothing is too much for any of the staff. It’s so loving and caring here – I feel like I can tell the staff anything. They just listen, they don’t judge. You can have a good cry with them, a good laugh with them – whatever mood you’re in.

“I’m home a lot more so I have less company and you miss that conversation and interaction. Sometimes I feel like I’m bottling everything up to come here. Here I don’t have to put on an act and it’s less tiring.

“Being told at 47 that there’s nothing more that anyone can do for you, that’s it… When you’re first told you feel like ‘great, at 47 I’m on the scrap heap’ but you come here and you don’t feel that way. They say ‘come on, you’re still doing this and that – you can still do things’. It helps massively. My emotional and mental health is so much better after days here.”

I know that Treetops, even after I’m gone, will be there for my boys

Jo really wants to meet her fundraising target:

“I love this place dearly. It’s my lifeline and I know that Treetops, even after I’m gone, will be there for my boys. The work Treetops does isn’t just now, it’s for the future. I know what it’s like to lose your mum and my boys are losing their mum a lot younger than I was.

“My fundraising target is £500 and it would be lovely to meet that – a way of saying thank you to Treetop and securing that future.”

Those who wish to sponsor Jo should head to her JustGiving webpage.

Treetops services include Support and Information, a Day Care Unit, Hospice at Home nurses and Therapeutic Services including counselling, art therapy and complementary therapy.

***Jo has subsequently come into Day Care with her variety of fabulous wigs below!