Hull KR star Rhys Lovegrove to grow mohawk for little Jazmine Jones
HE WILL soon be sporting a towering mohawk and face-filling beard to help a little girl whose life has been tipped upside down.
Hull KR player Rhys Lovegrove has taken on a hairy challenge to raise money for 8-year-old Jazmine Jones, of Bransholme, who is battling non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
The shaven Australian was touched by the little girl's story and is growing his head and facial hair through to the first game of the new season, which starts in February.
Rhys, 25, said: "A friend of mine showed me the story and I thought I was in a good position to help.
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"Her dream is to go to Florida and in bed one night I just started to think about how I could help her.
"I wanted to do something a bit different and my teammates said people would jump on this idea."
The sportsman said the only problem he may face is getting his fiancee Libby Carter, 21, to like his new look.
He said: "I'm one of those unfortunate people who has brown hair but then grows a ginger beard.
"She's not a fan but then she understands that it's for such a good cause and I've already raised more than £400.
"We have a son Corey who is 3 and if anything ever happened to him I'd like to think people would be just as kind as they are being to Jazmine."
Rhys went to visit Jazmine and her parents Lee Jones and Aimee Vincent and said he was taken aback by how happy she seemed, despite being so poorly.
Jazmine has an uncommon and aggressive form of non- Hodgkin's called anaplastic large-cell lymphoma. Fewer than 80 children in the UK are diagnosed with the condition each year and the majority of them are boys.
Consultants at Leeds General Infirmary, where she is being treated, say they only see about one child every three years with the disease.
Lee said the support from the local community since his daughter was diagnosed has been heartwarming.
He said: "Jazmine is doing very well and has been back at school.
"Our ultimate goal is to take her to Florida and it's very nice to have even strangers helping us.
"The donations have gone towards the trip and travel costs to Leeds.
"We were surprised when Rhys rang us up and it was great that he was able to meet us."
Rhys said he hopes the city and fans get behind him in his attempt to raise money for Jazmine and her family.
He said: "My beard is going to be ridiculous and I've not done anything like this before but it will be great."
To sponsor Rhys in his charity challenge, visit uk.virginmoney giving.com/rhyslovegrove and follow his progress on Twitter @ rhyshtl