An estimated eight Australians are diagnosed with leukaemia every day, with 1, 720 people losing their battle with the cancer in 2014.
Murdoch student and Guild Sustainability Officer Lauren Hodson knows too well what it’s like to be drawn into the crossfire, losing her father to the disease ten years ago.
On March 13, Lauren will take to the clippers and lose her long locks in a bid to raise funds for the Leukaemia Foundation.
“I’m doing this as a f%#k you to cancer: you can take away our warriors’ hair but you will never break their spirit,” says Lauren, who studies international aid development and law.
Taking this big step has been years in the making, she says, and is something she has thought about for years.
Her father was diagnosed with cancer when Lauren was very young, and after a successful bone marrow transplant, managed to stave off the leukaemia for two years.
Just two weeks after her 13th birthday, Lauren’s father succumbed.
“Despite the impact that cancer had on my Dad, he had never looked as brave or more like a warrior than he did when he was going through treatment and fighting his battle,” she says.
It was during her father’s cancer treatment that Lauren found herself invested in fundraising for cancer research.
“My school teacher knew, and read us this old Japanese tale about the Hiroshima bombing. In this story it says if you fold a thousand paper cranes, you will have a wish come true. I decided I would surprise him and fold a thousand paper cranes, and the whole school came together to fold them,” she says.
Presenting her father the cranes was a moving moment, and what happened after added to the gesture.
Lauren and her mother approached the hospital to use the cranes for a fundraising event, and through this, earned enough money to refurbish the somber hospital walls into a more welcoming space for patients and their families.
“It shaped the way I look at fundraising for cancer research. I really see the value of it and the people got to see the immediate benefits when they went in to get treatment for cancer,” Lauren says.
To her, taking part in the World’s Greatest Shave means standing in solidarity with those that fight the courageous battle with cancer. She wants to show them that they are not alone.
“Cancer fighters should feel like the brave warriors they are, they should be able to hold their (bald) heads high with pride knowing their strength in the war they are fighting.”
So far she has raised 75 per cent of her goal amount, and needs only a small push to reach her target.
To donate to Lauren’s World’s Greatest Shave campaign, head here.
This article originally appeared in the Edition #1 2016 of METIOR, on stands around campus now. Grab one today.