Sisters to lose hair to raise awareness of epilepsy after aunt's death

WHEN Ballarat’s four Pickersgill sisters lost their aunt to an epilepsy attack a year ago, they did not want her death to be in vain.

 Annabel Pickersgill, bottom, and her sisters Daisy, Harriet and Bea will have ponytails cut and heads shaved to raise money for Epilepsy Australia on Sunday. The girls are having their hair chopped in memory of their aunt, who died from a rare form of the condition. 
Picture: JEREMY BANNISTER

Annabel Pickersgill, bottom, and her sisters Daisy, Harriet and Bea will have ponytails cut and heads shaved to raise money for Epilepsy Australia on Sunday. The girls are having their hair chopped in memory of their aunt, who died from a rare form of the condition. Picture: JEREMY BANNISTER

So  Annabel, 18, and Harriet, 16, will shave their heads on Sunday to raise funds for Epilepsy Australia while younger sisters Bea, 14, and Daisy, 12, will cut off their ponytails.

Annabel said their 41-year-old aunt, Lisa McRae – their father Paul’s sister – died 12 months ago in Canada from Sudden Unexpected Death In Epilepsy (SUDEP), leaving behind her husband and a seven-year-old daughter.

SUDEP is very rare and has no known cause, though current research suggests respiratory or cardiac problems in people with epilepsy.

Ms McRae, who married a Canadian and worked in marketing, began having severe seizures when she was in her late teens.

“A few weeks ago, we decided we’d like to raise money to help with epilepsy,” Annabel said.

“It’s a subject that’s very close to our hearts.”

Their mother, Tracey Pickersgill, described her sister-in-law as having a “real zest for life”.

“She was adventure-loving and didn’t want epilepsy to get in the way of her everyday life,” Mrs Pickersgill said.

Annabel and Harriet have already dyed their hair purple for epilepsy awareness, but are a bit nervous about this weekend’s big cut.

“It’s a bit scary,” Harriet said.

“I have really curly hair and it takes a really long time to grow back, so I’m a bit scared too,” Annabel added.

Two of Annabel and Harriet’s close friends are coming to the family’s Invermay home to carry out the shave, while the two older girls will cut off their younger sister’s ponytails, with the help of their hairdresser.

The sisters have already raised $1500.

To donate visit https://give.everydayhero.com/au/pickersgillfamily

fiona.henderson@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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