Watch Babs’ head shave for Charity and Mick getting waxed!

Mick likes his new smooth legs

Our Babs shaves her head in solidarity with her sister fighting cancer..and Mick gets waxed.

Last Sunday after the Breaking Bad quiz in Bar Varia, Babs, our quiz host and Clean Team Leader, and Mick, our Food & Beverage Director, faced the clippers and wax strips in aid of CancerResearch UK. See the video here or see it at the bottom of this blog entry.

‘Breaking Babs’ wanted to show her older sister she wasn’t fighting breast cancer alone.

The momentous head shave was scheduled for the evening of the Breaking Bad themed quiz in Bar Varia – thus Breaking babs!

Babs in Breaking Bad's Water White Cook custume before head shave!

Babs in Breaking Bad’s Water White Cook costume before head shave!

It has been three years since Babs Mcleod picked up the phone and heard her sister’s first call for help.

Babs and her older sister Jen pose shortly after the 'big shave'. Mcleod

Babs and her older sister Jen pose shortly after the ‘big shave’. Mcleod

“I’m at the hospital and I’m being checked for breast cancer,” Jen had said. “I’m alone. Please, will you come and sit with me?”

Babs had grabbed her car keys and was already out the door. It had been some time since they’d been able to see each other, life had just gotten in the way, but after nearly 50 years together she would have gone anywhere for Jen.

Together, they sat through test after test. The scans and the mammograms and the uncomfortable waiting room chairs.

“She was my rock,” says Jen, “They told me they thought they had found something and my legs just turned to jelly.”

More tests followed and then, relief. There was nothing to be concerned about, the nurses told them. There were no signs of where a tumour might be hiding.

The sisters left, the cloud of cancer lifted from them. But this relief was not to last.

According to the National Cancer Institute, screening mammograms miss around 20% of breast cancers that are present at the time of screening.

“Three years later she was diagnosed,” says Babs. “Last year she had to get a double mastectomy .”

Babs Mcleod and her sister Jen, who is currently undergoing cancer treatment.

Babs Mcleod and her sister Jen, who is currently undergoing cancer treatment.

Babs and Jen had already lost an aunt to the same disease a few years earlier so they knew a little bit about the journey ahead.

The pain and numbness after surgery was to be expected as were the rounds of chemotherapy, the extreme fatigue, and the inevitable day Jen’s soft brown curls fell from her head.

Though what was not expected was the moment 51-year-old cleaner Babs turned to her older sister and announced that she was going to shave herself bald to be just like Jen.

“It was unexpected but I was not surprised at all,” says Jen, 58. “If you knew Babs, nothing would surprise you.”

This was the Babs who would sit down and talk to absolutely anybody. The Babs, says Jen, who likes to wear colourful tasseled ponchos with big flamboyant hats and who “would give you the shirt off her back” if she could.

When she had caught the school bus in Glasgow with her big sister when they were younger, it was Babs who would bounce up and down on the seat waving excitedly to Jen to come aboard and sit with her.

“I was older and trying to be dead cool among my friends,” says Jen. “I got on the bus and she’d scream hello at me until I joined her.”

Babs poses in her wigs after her sponsored head shave. Babs Mcleod

Babs poses in her wigs after her sponsored head shave. Babs Mcleod

As Jen continued with her treatment, Babs threw herself into fundraising, organising quiz nights and coffee mornings to raise money for breast cancer charities.

It was a knee-jerk reaction, her sister believes, to the shock of the diagnoses. “She just wanted to do something to help in a helpless situation,” Jen says.

On Sunday, Babs’ charity events reached a peak, with her day spent sat on a chair with her husband holding an electric shaver behind her.

 

Her daughter was there with clippers to lend a hand and her boss, from the Snow Factor in Braehead where she spends her days cleaning, was there too to offer his legs up for a sponsored wax.

“He was a bit of a wuss,” jokes Babs, “but he did it.”

A few of her colleagues offered their legs up but it was Babs, and her pledge to make herself bald, that drew in the crowds.

“Everybody was rooting for her, she was the star of the moment,” says Jen proudly. “I was there by her side, absolutely beaming.”

Donations came in swiftly on their fundraising page and for the “larger than life” cleaning lady dubbed “Breaking Babs” by her colleagues.

“My head does look weird,” laughs Babs. “I’ve never been bald so it’s a bit strange.”

This week, Babs has been enjoying experimenting with a large collection of wigs and taking time out to visit Jen, who is still undergoing radiotherapy and needs a lot of rest.

“I’ve got an eighties wig on at the moment and it’s sticking up all over the place,” says Babs with a chuckle. “Jen is doing well and we’re hoping she’ll get the all-clear at the end of the year.”

Until then, Babs has pledged to continue her year of fundraising with another quiz nightplanned for July 24.

“More than anything I’d just like to say how much admiration I have for her,” says Jen. “I’m overwhelmed by all the work she’s done and I just love her so much.”