Pupils embrace bad hair day to support hospital which saved classmate’s life

Annabel Bartfeld with her daughter Jessica San (front, middle) and fellow pupils from King Alfred Sc

Annabel Bartfeld with her daughter Jessica San (front, middle) and fellow pupils from King Alfred School. Picture: Nigel Sutton. - Credit: Nigel Sutton

Schoolchildren donned wigs and colourful hairstyles to raise money for a world-leading children’s hospital which saved the life of one of their classmates.

Pupils at King Alfred School, in North End Road, Golders Green, took part in Bad Hair Day 2014 last Friday.

The national initiative helps to raise funds to support the work of Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), in Bloomsbury.

King Alfred mum Annabel Bartfeld, 42, organised the fundraiser for daughter Jessica, nine, and pupils from reception to Year 6 at the school.

In 2008, Jessica was diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of three and her parents were told to prepare for the worst.

Mrs Bartfeld said: “We were told at the Royal Free Hospital that there was very little chance of her survival.

“The tumour was located on the brain stem which made it really complicated. It’s a very specialist person who can operate on the brain stem and that person was only at GOSH.

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“They said there was a chance she might not survive the surgery or that she might be severely brain-damaged.

“We were transferred to GOSH where they performed surgery to remove the tumour and it was very successful.”

After the surgery, Jessica was unable to walk or talk for a month and it took a year before she could swallow again.

But remarkably she made a full recovery and now her mother is determined to pay back a debt of gratitude to the medics at GOSH.

“It was the most traumatic, shocking experience that blew my world apart overnight,” said Mrs Bartfeld.

“When I was in the hospital, I said that if Jessica survived, I would devote the rest of my life to GOSH.”

The mother-of-three, who lives in North End Way, Hampstead, is now an ambassador for GOSH and arranges regular fundraisers for the hospital.

Last Friday, a professional stylist spent all day at King Alfred School styling pupils’ hair. There were also stalls dotted around the school offering hair braiding and plaiting.

Mrs Bartfeld collected donations on the day from parents at the school gates.

Jessica added: “I get my friends to fundraise for the hospital, we go on the Heath and sell stuff. GOSH is the best place ever.”

For more information about GOSH or to donate, visit gosh.org