PAUL Sculthorpe made a name for himself in rugby league for his unyielding fight and bravery.
But the St Helens rugby legend has been left in awe of immense courage of a different kind shown by his youngest daughter.
Last July little Evie – now five – was diagnosed as suffeing from a Wilms tumour, a form of kidney cancer.
It was news that rocked Paul, wife Lindsay and Evie’s older siblings Jake and Lucy-Jo.
It should have been an exciting time for this bubbly little girl, with her first year at Newfold Primary School just around the corner.
Instead, what followed were months of surgery, resulting in her kidney being removed, and gruelling chemotherapy.
Thankfully, Evie’s recovery went to plan and she is now a fit and healthy little girl again.
However, her treatment meant Evie began to lose her hair, something which Lucy-Jo found hard to comprehend at first.
“She looked quite ill and lost a bit of weight,” said the 10-year-old. “I did her nails for her and put some make up on her and stuff.
“She would wear her hat when she lost her hair but one day she just came home, took it off and said she didn’t want to wear it anymore.”
Lucy-Jo decided that she wanted to do something to help and after a bit of research with Paul and Lindsay, the family came across the Little Princess Trust, a charity that provides wigs for children who are battling cancer by taking donations of hair .
This prompted Lucy-Jo to grow her locks and cut it really short to raise money – with each wig costing £350 to put together – as well as donating the hair.
“I’m going to a bit shorter than my shoulders,” added Lucy-Jo. “I’ve not really had it that short since I was little, it’s been growing for about eight months now so I’m a bit nervous about it coming off!”
“We’re so proud of her,” said Paul, who played for Great Britain and Saints. “I set a Just Giving account for her one evening and put a message out on Twitter about what she’s doing with a link to it.
“By the time she got up for breakfast at 7am, she had already gone over her target of £1,000. We’d not informed anyone else, it was just purely off Twitter. Not a lot of people knew about Evie because we kept it pretty private until we got through it all. The majority of my followers on Twitter are through rugby and the support is amazing.”
Lucy-Jo’s auntie will be on hand with the scissors for the big cut this Sunday with Evie also planning to help out a good deed that has already raised well in excess of £6,000.
To sponsor Lucy-Jo, visit www.justgiving.com/LucyJoSculthorpe. For a full interview with the Sculthorpe family plus photos from Lucy-Jo’s haircut, see next week’s St Helens Reporter.