Friends of Berkshire nine-year-old facing chemotherapy shave their heads in solidarity

  • ITV News Meridian's Nicki Woodcock went to meet Harry and his family

Twelve primary school boys from Berkshire have had their heads shaved in solidarity with their friend who is battling a rare type of cancer.

Harry Mills, 9, from Charvil near Reading, was diagnosed with bone cancer in July and faces 18 rounds of chemotherapy.

He was dreading losing his hair so his friends and his dad decided to join him in shaving it off to raise money for Young Lives Vs Cancer, which supports families affected by the disease.

So far the event, on Saturday 9 September, has raised more than £25,000 for the charity.

Harry's friends before the big shave.

Harry said: "At the end there was a mirror and I could see it and I was like 'I look 10 times more different', and then after that everyone else did it and I watched them do it.

"They were all nervous as well but then they persevered through it and then at the end everyone had pretty much no hair."

Harry's friends cheered him on as he became the first to go under the clippers, alongside his father, Andy.

The boys then followed suit, grinning for the cameras before and after their big shaves.

Harry's friends after the big shave.

Byron Geldard from the charity Young Lives Vs Cancer said: "Harry and his friends have done an amazing job in smashing their target of £10,000 in less than seven days.

"It's great to see his friends and family coming together to support Harry and his family. The money raised will go on to support many families, like Harry's, facing cancer."

Andy Mills, Harry's father, said: "I said to the boys that it means so much to us and to Harry, the fact that they are doing this for him because, you know, people do stare at kids with no hair.

"It's something personal to Harry that he knows he's got some really good mates that are right by his side throughout this for him."

Four of Harry's friends before and after they had their heads shaved.

In April, Harry's leg started to hurt when he was playing football. It later became swollen, causing him to limp. A doctor carried out an X-ray and an MRI scan.

Andy said: "He phoned us that night and said 'I've seen a crack on the bone' and I thought 'oh okay he's got a broken leg' and he goes 'no there's a tumour'. He thinks the tumour has burst out of the bone.

"They showed us the scans and it was like a sea of white on his femur and on the X-ray, you just see the mottled bone, so he said it's highly likely to be cancer."

Doctors confirmed that it was a tumour in Harry's leg called Undifferentiated Pleomorphic Sarcoma, which accounts for less than 1% of all cancers.

A gruelling treatment plan of 18 sessions of chemotherapy have been planned out, as well as several operations, but well wishes from friends, family, and a few celebrities keep him smiling.

  • Harry has received messages from some famous faces, including Harry Judd and Chris Evans:

Harry Judd, drummer for the band McFly, said: "Hey Harry, it's Harry. Great name! I'm sorry you've not been very well but I hear you're being super brave."

Chris Evans, DJ and radio presenter, said: "I'm wishing you all the best of luck, I'm saying prayers for you.

"I'm pushing good energy, positive energy, your way. Good luck, stick with it, you've got this."

Harry's sisters, Laura and Abi, are also getting involved in the fundraising effort, by challenging themselves to walk 80 miles throughout September as part of Challenge 80.

Harry faces 18 rounds of chemotherapy. Credit: Andy Mills

Abi Mills said: "It's nothing compared to obviously what Harry is going through so it's kind of us just doing our little bit.

"I'm so proud of all those boys. I mean, I couldn't do it. I couldn't shave my hair but they have and I'm just honestly in complete awe of all of them.

"Also, I'm just a very proud big sister about how strong he's been too. Obviously we've had our tears and ups and downs but he's powered through it, so much better than I could, he's been so brave, so so brave."

Harry's been promised a trip away once his treatment is over, after his diagnosis came two days before their summer holiday.

But Harry knows that however tough the journey will be, he's got the full support of his family and friends.