A hairdresser has shaved her head to raise money for doctors who helped her sister with a rare skin condition – which left her ”looking like Deadpool”.
Harriet Stuckey, 27, developed a life-threatening disease which caused sore blisters across her entire body.
The condition was triggered by Castleman disease, which caused an overgrowth of cells and left a grapefruit-sized tumour on her pelvis.
Harriet began to develop blisters all over her body – eventually diagnosed as a rare skin disease called Paraneoplastic Pemphigus.
She was left in agony and covered in red sore skin and says she “looked like something out of Deadpool”.
The tumour was removed in 2017 and Harriet no longer suffers from either disease but still has extensive scarring.
She has also been left with a lung condition which affects her breathing and shortens life expectancy.
Last week Harriet shaved sister Olivia’s hair off to raise more than £2,000 for Southmead Hospital Charity, to say thank you for saving Harriet’s life.
Harriet, from Bridgwater, Somerset, said: “I looked like something out of Deadpool.
“I would scream with pain when they had to bathe me. My hair fell out, so I only had strands left, I looked like an old man.
“Humour kept me going through it all. I had a brilliant family behind me and I’m really proud of my sister.”
Harriet was travelling in Australia in 2016 when she became ill – and noticed ulcers on her mouth.
After travelling to Florida to surprise the rest of her family who had gone on holiday – Harriet’s health declined and she was soon rushed back to England with her dad, Ricky.
After a scan at Musgrove Hospital, Taunton, a tumour was spotted on her pelvis and later attributed to Harriet’s Castleman’s disease.
Meanwhile, Harriet began to develop blisters all over her body – eventually diagnosed as a rare skin disease called Paraneoplastic Pemphigus.
Olivia, said: “As an auto immune disease there’s not much you can really do – once your body wants to fight itself its uncontrollable.
“It was all about trying to calm her skin down at the start – it was like she’d been burnt. She couldn’t get dressed as her skin was so blistered up.”
Harriet’s tumour, humorously named ‘Norman,’ was eventually removed at Southmead Hospital.
Residue from the tumour, this time inactive, was soon found – but doctors said operating would cause more harm than good due to Harriet’s already precarious health – and pulled the plug right as she was about to have the operation in May 2017.
Harriet has had radiotherapy on the tumour since, which is keeping the Castleman’s at bay.
Harriet’s skin has since cleared, but she has been left with scars all over her body.
She has also been left with a serious lung condition called Bronchiolitis Obliterans.
Doctors told Harriet four years ago she only had two years left – but Harriet is determined to fight.
“I just have to live life and hope I last longer than most people with this lung condition,” she said.
“Four years ago, my lung consultant – we called him Doctor Death – wrote me off.
“He said go live the best life you can because soon your quality of life will be reduced.
“But four years on I’m still here – I’m a bit stumped.
“Perhaps because the lung condition is so rare, they’ve got nothing to compare it to.”
Harriet is incredibly close with her family, and her sister Olivia said they always try to find the funny side of bad situations.
Olivia said: “I think joking about it is the only way – otherwise you’re just always sad.
“We all took the piss and said she has to dress up as Deadpool. Her attitude is much better than I would be.”
Last week Harriet shaved Olivia’s hair off to raise more than £2,000 for Southmead Hospital Charity, to say thank you for saving Harriet’s life.
21-year-old Olivia, who lives with Harriet in an annex next door to their parents, said: “Southmead Hospital have been remarkable in helping Harriet through her rare diseases.
“My initial target was £500.
“The immunology department has been a major importance to her trying to find a solution to our unanswered questions.
“Although Harriet has been left with a life-limiting lung condition, we still have her with us and for that we are grateful.
“Everyone knows my hair is definitely part of my personality but as Harriet lost her hair due to the trauma and treatment, I am inspired by the way she handled it all and if she can do it, so can I.”
Donations can be made via the following link: