King's Lynn doctor’s ‘nohawk’ raises over £2,500 after suicide of friend
An anaesthetist at Lynn’s hospital has raised over £2,500 after he shaved a “nohawk” in memory of a colleague who took his own life.
Dr Ben Fox, who lives in Castle Acre with his wife and two children, was inspired to fundraise in memory of his friend, but has become passionate about breaking the stigma of suicide.
He said: “We’d been friends for many years and he even came to my wedding. When I heard the news it was a real shocker, a real gut punch.
“I spoke to his family and friends, but there were no signs. It just shows you don’t know what’s really going on in someone’s head or how alone they must feel to think there’s no other way out.”
Remembering his friend fondly, Ben described him as a “master of puns” and told of how he was conducting research at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital where they both worked.
Just a week before the death of his friend, Ben recounted how he watched as he saved the life of a patient.
“I went home and said to my wife that he was going to be a fantastic doctor. It’s a shame that was taken away from him,” he said.
After hearing of his death, Ben decided he wanted to do something in memory of his friend.
He said: “I didn’t want that to be the end of it, I wanted his death to mean something. I wanted to honour him.”
After reaching out to friends, he discovered Shout, the UK’s first free, confidential, 24/7 text support service which provides mental health support to those who are struggling to cope.
He said: “Shout was a charity that really resonated with me, we’re such a text world now rather than just picking up the phone and having a phone call.”
Replacing his profile picture on social media with a “nohawk” selfie (a reverse mohawk), Dr Fox hoped it would help break the taboo of talking about suicide while raising money for Shout.
He raised over £2,500 through a Facebook fundraising page, but had since set up a new JustGiving page as donations continue to roll in.
Ben said: “With the fundraising, I’ve only just scratched the surface. The much bigger thing is talking about suicide. As a society we’re not open to talking about it, there’s a reluctance, a fear that we’re going to offend someone.
“It’s the leading cause of death in under 50’s, so perhaps if we start talking more openly about it, people will feel less isolated and alone. We need to change the narrative and start thinking of it as a disease.”
He added: “I didn’t realise this charity event would be so popular and would raise so much money, but I would give up all the money I raised just to have a beer with my friend.”
You can donate to Ben’s fundraiser here: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/bl-fox