‘Why I’m on a mission to shave the world from blood cancer’

Feb 13, 2020
Sue will shave her head as part of the Leukaemia Foundation's 'World's Greatest Shave' on March 14. Source: Getty Images

I first met Cara in 1991. Her mother Ursula and I became friends back then when we were both working in the Metway Bank (as it was known at the time).

Cara was a beautiful child and grew into a beautiful young woman; intelligent, vibrant. She had a large group of friends in Sydney, Australia, which is where she worked and lived. Ursula and Mike (Cara’s dad) and her sisters Tahlia and Ella lived in Brisbane, but they were always in touch with each other. Then Cara got sick.

Cara’s illness was a rare form of leukaemia. She was only 26 years old.

She was a fit, healthy young woman with a loving family and lots of friends, but her leukaemia took her life within six months, in early-February 2008, just before her 27th birthday.

At the time of Cara’s passing I wasn’t so crash hot health-wise either. Friends took me to her funeral. It was a sad occasion, but it was also a wonderful celebration and remembrance of her short life.

For four years after Cara’s death, her parents raised funds tirelessly for the Leukaemia Foundation. It was in 2012 that I decided to support them and registered to participate in ‘Shave for a Cure’. I wanted to support my friends and help in the fight against the disease Cara lost her life to. My sister, Eileen, decided she would join me.

Eileen was more nervous about shaving her hair than I was about shaving mine, so we sat together holding hands while two lovely young ladies shaved our heads (using a number two blade) in front of quite a crowd.

It felt strangely nice. The result was a soft head of furry fuzz and I didn’t think it looked too bad at all. Both our families were there to support us and after we’d lost our locks we all went to the local tavern’s deck area for a calming glass of wine. Between us, Eileen and I had raised almost $3,000 for the cause.

There isn’t much between no hair and one’s hair growing back either. That happened quite quickly.

A few years after Cara died, I found myself at the forefront of my own cancer battle. I was dealing with breast cancer, which came just after my 60th birthday in 2014. It reappeared in 2015. Cancer is no fun. Yet I am still alive, Cara is not!

This year, my sister and I have decided we will again shave for a cure. I want to do my bit to ease the pain of those people and their families who continue to hurt like hell.

Time is not a healer, it just allows you to continue with your life. The hurt and the loss ever leave you.

On March 14 we will be surrounded by our friends and family at home. We’ll video the proceedings. I’m hoping we can raise enough money to support the Leukaemia Foundation in their research.

I know that drought and bushfires are foremost in the minds of many people at the moment, but cancer in whatever form can touch everyone’s lives. We’d love your support!

If you’d like to donate to Sue and Eileen’s ‘World’s Greatest Shave’ and provide vital funds for research and support for people living with blood cancer, visit their page.

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