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A big haircut in memory of Jessica

Jessica McEnroe pictured at High Force in 2016.
Jessica McEnroe pictured at High Force in 2016.

A conversation at a tattoo studio has led to the man who runs it agreeing to do a hair-raising activity in aid of two charities.

Jessica McEnroe was diagnosed with a rare illness called mixed connective tissue disorder at the age of 14.

Paul Stott.

Paul Stott.

Although she often had to go into hospital, she lived life to the full as much as she could.

However, Jessica was taken to hospital after feeling unwell and within 12 hours she died of sepsis less than 24 hours before her 27th birthday.

Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening complication of an infection. It can affect multiple organs or the entire body.

Jessica lived in Cramlington growing up and attended what was then St Benet Biscop Catholic High School in Bedlington.

She and partner Jordan Miller bought a house in Blyth and they moved in at the end of 2016.

Her dad, Damian McEnroe, went along to Trailer Trash in Morpeth to get a tattoo done by Paul Stott, who has been operating in the town for 10 years.

He asked for a sunflower tattoo on one of his wrists as sunflowers were his daughter’s favourite flower and he explained what had happened to her.

Paul said he wanted to contribute to the fund-raising effort for the UK Sepsis Trust and after discussing different activities, they came up with one.

As Paul has long hair, he will have a big haircut tomorrow evening (Thursday). What is chopped off will be given to Little Princess Trust, which provides real-hair wigs free of charge to youngsters in the UK and Ireland who lose their hair during cancer treatment.

Damian said: “The family is absolutely over the moon with what Paul is doing and it’s great that this activity will benefit two charities.

“It will also be raising awareness of sepsis and its symptoms, such as a heart rate higher than 90 beats a minute and a respiratory rate higher than 20 breaths a minute.

“Early treatment of sepsis, usually with antibiotics and large amounts of intravenous fluids, improves chances for survival.”

Paul said: “I’m a bit nervous because it has been years since I’ve had a proper haircut, but I’m excited about seeing how much money we will raise.”

In the months that followed Jessica’s death, the family raised more than £4,820 for the Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Charity.

She was employed as an advertising account manager at Drummond Central in Newcastle and the company is fund-raising for the UK Sepsis Trust in her memory.

To make a donation online, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/for-our-jess
Those who donate £20 or more will be entered into a prize draw for three hours worth of free tattoo time.

More details about a much-loved woman who also supported charity

After her mixed connective tissue disorder diagnosis, Jessica started having chemotherapy at the Freeman in Newcastle.

She did a media and advertising degree at Northumbria University and also volunteered at the Oxfam shop in Heaton.

Unexpectedly, in the early hours of September 8, 2017, after having celebrated a pre-birthday meal with her family, Jessica was taken to hospital after feeling unwell and within 12 hours she died of sepsis.

Damian said: “It was hypothesised by doctors that drugs she was taking at the time for her illness masked the extent of the sepsis.

“At the celebration of her life in Blyth Golf Club, so many people turned up that both buildings were packed and there were more people outside.”