A VALLEYS hairdresser who was devastated to lose her hair during a cancer battle is paying back the Royal Gwent Hospital for helping her through the whole ordeal.

With money Kathryn Pratt has raised over the past three years, the breast cancer unit has purchased chairs, mirrors, readingmaterials and pictures for patients.

The mum-of-one, diagnosed with the disease ten years ago at the age of 39, says she is indebted to the hospital and its staff for their “fantastic” work.

At the time the illness was revealed, Mrs Pratt’s son Thomas was just ten, and she said her consultant Dr Phil Holland and the nurses were extremely supportive.

She underwent a full mastectomy and reconstructive surgery, after which she had several infections. This was followed by six months of chemotherapy.

She said: “It was a horrendous time, I lostmyhair, which being a hairdresser was even worse as I felt like I lost my femininity. “ Mrs Pratt’s aunt Marion Graham and grandmother Ellen Evens both died from the disease in their forties.

Each year, the 49-year-old, who is married to Ralph, 51, returns to the hospital for a mammogram and for the last two she has been pleased to take £370 with her.

This year the target is £1,000, which is in reach during Breast Cancer Awareness month thanks to the generosity of customers at her Newbridge business Kathryn’s Hair Studio. They have paid for tea and coffee, while a ladies evening at Newbridge Rugby Club run by nurse Jane Jeremiah raised £580.

Another woman donated a huge bag of pennies she collected and some of the nurses sometimes pay a visit to the salon.

“I like to know that the money is going to people affected in the area,” Mrs Pratt added.

A spokesman for Aneurin Bevan Health Board said: “We are extremely grateful to Kathryn for her extremely generous donation and the huge amount of effort she puts into fundraising for our unit.

“The money will be used to benefit other local patients who need treatment and support from our team.”

Anyone who would like to contribute to the fund can do so at the hair salon.