BeatItBy Rosa Sherwood

Chris Read, a Senior Stylist at Hobbs hairdressers in Clifton, aims to set up his own charity targeted specifically at young people called The Beat It Foundation. Chris intends to raise awareness and support for teenage cancer patients through The Beat It Foundation which started out as a fundraiser and hopes to raise enough money and support for the organisation to become established as a registered charity.

In 2011, after various visits to three different doctors during an eight month period, Chris was diagnosed with stage 3 Lymphoma; “I never expected it, and even when they told me, I still didn’t believe it,” he stated.

Chris was able to carry on working in the hair salon every two weeks throughout his chemotherapy treatment which took place every other week. This meant he could still cut students hair on a Tuesday where Hobbs offer a 50% discount with a valid NUS card. Chris felt that during his treatment, from the diagnosis through to the remission stage, there was a lack of support on offer to him and others, saying:: “There aren’t direct people to talk to, and support isn’t on offer unless you go looking for it.”

Chris has already had positive responses from patients who have contacted him via social networking. They have acknowledged that what he is doing is good and needed. He noticed the lack of support that was available specific to his age group and believes that “It just isn’t easy enough for young people to deal with, you get given a lot of information, leaflets, and medical documents, it’s a lot to take in and to be honest, you just don’t want to read it.”

From his charity, Chris plans to make “support packs” which would contain a simplified version of the leaflets that are easier to read and understand. Chris was fortunate that his friends bought him an iPad, which kept him occupied throughout his treatment. Through the charity, Chris intends to give out gifts or provide patients with some money so they can buy themselves something to keep them entertained.

“I was lucky that my friends bought me that present, but not everyone will have that,” he said.

Appealing to the younger generation, and creating a unique image for his charity, Chris has designed his own t-shirts and jumpers to sell. Featuring on the garments is the same ‘Beat It’ design he had inked on his skin.“Charities are not always seen as the coolest of things, so I think seeing the tattoo helps to give a personal connection for young people, because it’s something they can relate to,” he said..

Targeting teenagers, Chris plans to promote his fundraiser through club nights at local Bristol venues. If you attend wearing your Beat It jumper or t-shirt you will receive reduced entry and Chris will also plan to have wrist bands, jumpers and t-shirts available to buy on the night.

Setting up a charity requires much time and effort and can be a long process. Chris explained: “I have to create a business plan and raise a certain amount of money, explaining how I raised it and where it came from.”

Chris has already shown great dedication into moving the Beat It Foundation forward with all the money being put into the fundraiser coming from his own pocket. To help the Beat It Foundation gain wider support, Chris has targeted celebrities via the social networking site Twitter, he said: “It’s good to get celebrities or people who are relevant to young people, as they look up to them.”

Raising more awareness in local areas Chris plans to do talks in local schools offering his advice to young people. He has already gained much support after visiting his previous school Wellsway, where he took part in their ‘Charity Week.’

1 in 3 people will develop some form of Cancer in their life. Chris urges you to support the Beat It Foundation to help reduce this statistic.

Show support for the BeatIt Foundation here. 

To show support for the Beat It Foundation use this link: h t t p : / / w w w . f a c e b o o k . c o m / TheBeatItFoundation