Plymouth schoolgirl bullied after losing hair due to chemotherapy

Sinead Zalick, 12, says she has been bullied at school after losing her hair during chemotherapy treatment. Credit: BPM Media

A schoolgirl in Plymouth has experienced threats and laughter from bullies after losing her hair due to chemotherapy.

Sinead Zalick has just finished chemotherapy after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer just before Christmas last year.

The 12-year-old, who lives in the Stonehouse area, initially went to the doctors suffering from a "poorly tummy" and was given medication.

But her symptoms worsened and her stomach started to bloat, leaving her in "agony".

Sinead Zalick, from Plymouth, has finished receiving chemotherapy for ovarian cancer. Credit: BPM Media

She was brought to a hospital in Bristol at the beginning of December 2020, where her parents Adam Zalick and Jodie Clarke took it in turns to stay with her each week, due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The chemotherapy treatment caused Sinead's hair to fall out, leading her family to raise money to buy her wigs.

Sinead tries to go to school three days a week to keep up with her studies and to see her friends, even though she is still "very tired and unwell."

But the schoolgirl has experienced insults, threats and jeering from other children at the school - which she and her mum do not wish to name as they say bullying happens everywhere.

'Bullying comes in all different shapes and sizes'

"We're happy to [share our story], if it helps another little human," her mum Jodie explained.

"Bullying comes in all different shapes and sizes."

Sinead lost her hair while undergoing treatment. Credit: BPM Media

Jodie said she realised her daughter was being bullied after Sinead tried to avoid going to school, a place she usually "loves" to go.

"I only heard the comments being made, as Sinead over the last week has been hiding her wig so she didn't have to go in," she explained.

"If she doesn't have breakfast, she knows she isn't allowed to go to school, as she needs all the energy she needs.

"She refused breakfast as she knew I would say 'don't go', so her dad sat down and had a chat with her, where she told him what was happening."

Sinead's family and friends rallied around to raise money to purchase wigs for her to wear to school. Credit: BPM Media

Jodie said groups of girls were "laughing at Sinead" and telling her that her hair "looks fake".

"They said they were going to rip it off," she added.

Jodie said she went to the school to sort it out, but saw that Sinead had got ready for school and decided to attend without her wig."When she put her uniform on, I felt like the proudest mum in the world," she said.

Sinead pictured in her school uniform. Credit: BPM Media

She said Sinead missed her friends at school as the whole family had to isolate to keep her safe.

Sinead has a message to other children who may experience similar situations.

Jodie added: "Just please, as a parent to a parent, if your child is being a bully, stop it now."A fundraiser has been set up for Sinead and her family to support them, raising more than £6,000 of the £10,000 goal.While Sinead has finished her chemotherapy treatment, the bottom of her right kidney is now cancerous.

Her mum says she has four lumps of cancer that cannot be removed, but the surgeon believes they are dead - though they will not know until a scan in November.