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Inspired Leah Dean, 16, shaves head, battles mud to raise £3,000

A Salford teenager has won a stunning result to smash a fundraising target 20 times over for Cancer Research UK.

Leah Dean, 16, vowed to shave her head in honour of inspirational Albion High School English teacher Michelle Holding, who is in remission after being diagnosed with breast cancer last year.

While going through chemotherapy Miss Holding, 32, had her bald head tattoed with henna symbols and became the first woman in the country to sign up to the 100,000 Genome Project, which will map the genetic code of 100,000 women in a bid to find a cancer cure.

She told SalfordOnline.com in March: “Part of why I wanted to be so honest when I got cancer was so that hopefully people would be aware and check themselves regularly.

“It was also so they will contact their GP if they do find something, or are worried, as early diagnosis makes a massive difference for treatment.”

Leah started with a modest £150 target but saw her aspirations rocket as a crowd of 200 at St Boniface’s Social Club in Lower Broughton watched her go under the clippers on Friday 3 July.

Freshly shorn, she took on the gruelling Pretty Muddy 5k race at Heaton Park on Saturday 11 July to top up the funds to a staggering £3,010.

“The assault course really took it out of me,” said Leah.

“At one stage I didn’t think I could do it but I had Miss Holding in my mind and we battled on to the finish line.”

“We all had a great time despite my nervousness about the head shave.

“Sadly Miss Holding couldn’t make it for personal reasons but I was determined to go along it with it.

“She has been an inspiration for me all the way.”

When Leah hits 18 she also plans to skydive to continue her fundraising journey.

If you want to donate you can do so at Leah’s JustGiving page here.

Main image by Charlotte Tattersall Photography

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Tom is SalfordOnline.com's News Editor and community co-ordinator.