Hats on for charity – and hats off to Ndey!

Hats on for charity – and hats off to Ndey!


Heathcote staff and service users were inspired to take part in a fundraising campaign after hearing a story of courage in adversity involving one of our Support Workers.

Ndey Hydara has been through some extremely tough times in the past ten years. She was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2011 and underwent a programme of medication to try to eradicate it. Unfortunately, the treatment did not have the desired effect and an operation became necessary in November 2018.

Thankfully, the operation was successful, but Ndey was in and out of hospital in subsequent months due to problems with her sodium and potassium levels. She then contracted sepsis which almost proved fatal. Ndey’s fortunes took a positive turn in 2019 when she became pregnant with twins. The babies were due to arrive at the end of May 2020, but Ndey faced another challenge in the weeks leading up to the birth when she tested positive for Covid-19.

We are delighted to say that, after all that she has been through, Ndey’s story has a wonderfully happy ending – she gave birth on 31st May and has two beautiful babies! She is now back to full health and settled at home, looking after her daughter Mariatou and son Muhammad Tafsir.

Ndey said: “I was enjoying maternity leave and looking forward to the birth when I found out I had Covid-19. It was a very worrying time for us, but I am overjoyed to come through it and have two healthy babies. It all seems a long way from 2010, when I started suffering from headaches, tiredness and depression which turned out to be symptoms of the brain tumour. Going through all that has made me appreciate things even more.

“I must say that Heathcotes have been incredibly supportive throughout the hard times I’ve had. When I was taking medication, I had to change my working pattern to one day on, then one day off, and Heathcotes were very understanding and accommodating about this. I can’t thank them enough.”

Ndey’s fantastic news was a cause for celebration for colleagues and service users at Heathcotes. A couple of weeks after hearing about the birth, staff became aware of Wear a Hat Day, a nationwide charity initiative organised by Brain Tumour Research. A member of our accounts department, Mandy Brown, is a passionate advocate of the charity. Mandy also has personal experience of the suffering caused by a brain tumour.

Mandy said: “This cause is very close to my heart. My sister, Sam, had a brain tumour and was given five to ten years to live.  She had it removed and had radio and chemotherapy. Sam is currently doing really well and is on year seven with no sign of it returning.  I looked after her during her chemo and a second surgery to remove an infection from her brain which required them to remove part of her skull. She now has an implanted prosthetic in place of her skull.  Sam is my inspiration. She has also confirmed that during this pandemic, the Brain Tumour Research charity is struggling.   Without this research, my sister may not be alive today.”

Sam and Ndey both have heartening stories of survival which highlight the life-saving impact of investment in brain tumour research. It gave Heathcotes ample motivation to get involved in Wear a Hat Day. We only had a few days to prepare, but the response was excellent and we managed to raise £200 for Brain Tumour Research.

To coincide British Flowers Week, this year’s Wear a Hat Day asked participants to include floral decorations in their headgear. As you can see from the photographs, Heathcotes came up with a wide variety of styles, from panamas to sombreros! It was hats on for charity, but it’s hats off to Ndey – you’re an inspiration to us all!


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