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The University of Southampton

Precious stone at Centre for Cancer Immunology

Published: 14 October 2019
The diamond was made from carbon
The diamond was made from carbon from Danielle’s hair

The Centre for Cancer Immunology at the University of Southampton is hosting a very special display during Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October). A diamond, made from a lock of hair donated by Danielle Callaghan, can be found in the Centre’s main atrium.

Danielle was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer just two months after giving birth to her daughter, Joey. Her doctors described her condition as ‘manageable, not curable’, but Danielle is a fighter and she’s not giving up.

Her story is sadly the same for over millions of women in the world. Breast cancer will affect 1 in 8 women in their lifetime.

The diamond was set in a gold necklace
The diamond was set in a gold necklace

Patients like Danielle often cut off their hair before risking losing it gradually during chemotherapy. Cacner charity, Against Breast Cancer, gave Danielle the opportunity to do something incredible with her hair – to turn a lock of it into a beautiful diamond that carries a worldwide message of hope and helps raise essential funds for breast cancer research.

US company Lifegem created Danielle’s diamond before it was sent to Paris, where renowned celebrity jewellery designer Pascale Monvoisin designed a unique gold necklace to house the stone.

The diamond is now on display in the Centre for Cancer Immunology for the rest of the month.

Danielle said: “I wanted my hair to be useful, to be as precious to others as it was to me. Just because I have breast cancer doesn’t mean I can’t help fight this disease. The World’s Most Precious Stone will embody my story, my life and the funds it will raise will help others in their fight.”

The diamond will act as a symbol of every patient’s fight against the disease and during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, people across the world will be invited to donate on the website to help make Danielle’s diamond the most precious stone in the world, even more.

Professor Tim Elliott, Director of the Centre for Cancer Immunology, said: "Cancer is a devastating disease but examples of courage and determination, just like Danielle's, gives hope to so many people experiencing cancer. We are incredibly proud to display this amazing artefact in the Centre for Cancer Immunology and hope that people get behind the campaign and donate.”

To find out more about how the diamond was made visit Against breast cancer webpage



The World's Most Precious Stone

Before chemotherapy, Danielle Callaghan cut off a lock of her hair and turned it into a beautiful diamond.

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