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A Close Shave - Sydney reveals latest fundraising success

There is a sensation you get that comes with the word ‘Cancer’.

That gut wrenching, pit of stomach dropping, gulping feeling you get when someone you know breaks the news; “I have cancer”. There are few more chilling phrases. We feel a heavy wave of sadness, empathy, or camaraderie, but shortly after we are thrust back into our own reality and a small part of us thinks “that’ll never happen to anyone close to me”. I understand. I was one of those people. Until I wasn’t.

My mother, who had been the picture of health up until the age 55, started feeling weak and tired. Like everybody else, my mother thought she was suffering from an iron deficiency. After a visit to our local GP, she was sent to hospital for a blood test and from that date; Friday, 29th June 2014, our reality was forever changed. She courageously fought hard for 10 months but sadly lost her battle against Acute Myeloid Leukaemia in May of last year.

The Reality of Blood Cancer: 
  • Every 41 minutes, an Australian is diagnosed with a blood cancer such as leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma – equating to 35 people every day or around 13,000 new patients every year
  • More than 60,000 people are currently living with blood cancer or a related blood disorder in Australia
  • Blood cancer claims the lives of more Australians than breast cancer or melanoma
  • Blood cancers cannot be screened and can develop in anyone, of any age, at any time and they often develop with little warning, requiring intensive, severe and lengthy treatment
  • Many patients and their families will be referred or will turn to the Leukaemia Foundation for support, which may take many different forms and which is made available at no charge
  • The Foundation receives no ongoing direct government funding and we rely on the support and generosity of individuals and our community and corporate partners, and their staff, so that we are able to continue to deliver our patient services and invest in vital research

I had wanted to do something to raise awareness and vital funds for Leukaemia for a long time but I had never been able to work out how I could best honor my mother's memory, whilst raising vital funds and awareness for all blood cancers. That is until I remembered a “debate” I used to have with my mother about shaving her hair off. My mother loved her hair (as most women do) and I knew that losing it would be awful for her. In solidarity, I offered to shave my head with her, so she wouldn’t feel like she was alone in her battle. Like any mother would, she refused to let me “touch a precious hair on my head”, and called me an “awful eejit”! And so between that and MMK’s Millions initiative, the idea of Tara’s MillionHairs was born!

On the 12th August 2016 I committed to shaving my head if I reached my goal of raising $5,000 for the Leukaemia Foundation here in Australia. I gave myself exactly one month to achieve this target and arranged to shave my head on Monday 12th September to celebrate what would have been my mother's 57th birthday. There's no better gift, right? Even if it does make me an “awful eejit”.

Last week, I was about $500 short of my target and I am pleased to reveal that at this moment, I have raised $7,015 and counting....

For the Leukaemia Foundation $6,000 equates to:

  • 220 information packs to help patients understand their disease and the challenges ahead
  • 115 weekly personal support visits to patients who are in hospital
  • 103 daily return transport trips for patients who are too ill to drive to and from treatment in one of our courtesy transport vehicles
  • 75 nights of free accommodation for regional families who need to stay close to treatment in the city
  • 50 days funding of a research scholarship to give essential support to a major blood cancer research project
  • 15 days funding of a major blood cancer research project
Monday 12th September:

With the help of my trusty team, the boardroom was decked out in true Morgan McKinley style; we had red and white ribbons, a dress up table and drinks and snacks. The funky wigs and other crazy dress up items were a huge hit and encouraged people to join in the fun. We had a lovely representative, Phil, join us from the Leukaemia Foundation to tell us a bit about the work they do and why fundraising is so important for this foundation.

But no event is complete without a bit of drama, am I right? To my dismay, we were let down by the hairdresser who was a no show (they thought it was "next Monday") but luckily the Morgan McKinley Dream Team made up of Alex, Lauren, Debs and Kirstine were quick to save the shave! Alex volunteered to be the hairdresser, and what a fabulous hairdresser she was, whilst the other girls made a Usain-style bare-foot 'Bolt' to the nearest pharmacy (they could hardly be expected to run in heels!) 10 minutes before closing, to pick up the vital ingredient: clippers.

And the rest they say is history....(or as you can see, the rest is pretty much covered in the photos you can view on our company Facebook page!)

I just want to say a massive ‘thank you’ to all of the Morgan McKinley support I've received over the past month. It's been incredible, and the generosity has been immense. I definitely could not have achieved this goal without the team here and abroad.

Every donation is very much appreciated so if you haven't donated and you'd still like to you can donate here. I'm very proud that "Tara’s MillionHairs" brings us that bit closer to achieving the all important MMK Million! Go team Sydney!

Tara Clancy

  • Sep 16, 2016
  • CSR , Australia
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