TWO friends are taking on an attempt to complete 80 haircuts in 40 hours to raise funds for one-year-old Reece Barends, who is battling neuroblastoma cancer.

Briony Curtis will take up residence at Absolutely Gorgeous hair salon in Watchfield, joined by Kelly Kerr, from Bellaviso hair salon in Faringdon. The pair will take on the challenge between May 31 and June 2 to help raise funds for little Reece’s treatment.

Reece was diagnosed last year before his first birthday, and mum Ashleigh Barends, from Swindon, is struggling to pay the rising medical bills in their new home of Cape Town after emigrating to South Africa.

After a group of Ashleigh’s former colleagues raised £1,800 at the Wiltshire Scramble, their medical bills have now been halved from £8,000 to £4,000, but pressure on their finances is still acute.

Briony said the event will be staggered to account for opening hours and other responsibilities, but the 40 hour target would be strict.

“We will be starting on the Saturday at 6 o’clock in the evening, and we will have to work around the salon opening hours,” she said. “A friend will be lending us the chairs for the clients, because it is not a salon I work in.”

Briony added Reece is improving steadily, and is about to begin his final round of chemotherapy.

“Reece looks really well,” she said. “Ashleigh said he is still struggling to eat but his mobility is fantastic. He is crawling around and struggling around walking, but doing really well in general.

“The diet he has had has helped massively. I think it has made more of an effect than the chemotherapy, because he looks really well, and is always smiling.

“They are starting the last round of chemotherapy this week. Then he goes back in for scans to make sure the tumour has not spread into the bone marrow or the blood.”

The team of former Toni and Guy staff, Ashleigh’s old colleagues, will continue fundraising until Reece is better.

“At the last event we managed to raise £1,800 in total,” added Briony.

“They have been struggling since then, and now they have had people trying to take their car away.

They are giving Reece’s bills priority, because he has to come first.

“If there is anybody else who wants to join in they are more than welcome.

“We are particularly looking for clients through the night, as we are struggling to find people between 1am and 5am.”

The pair will charge £20 for a ladies wash and blow dry, or £10 for a gents cut.

To book a slot get in touch with your nearest salon.