By CHLOE JAENICKE
IN a bold to bald move, the efforts of staff and families from the South Wangaratta Medical Centre, supported by the wider community, have helped raise more than $9000 for the Leukemia Foundation.
Centre team leader Kim Ching, husband Dr Julian Fidge, their children Hypatia and Leonidas Fidge, together with Helen Finney, Dr Buddhika Jayathilaka, Dr Rishani Mendis and Marcus Ludeman all shaved their heads of hair off last Wednesday for the World’s Greatest Shave.
Ms Ching was inspired to raise money for the foundation after losing a family member to cancer in September of 2020.
“My cousin passed away at the age of 38 after five years of battling with cancer at the time of the pandemic lockdown and I didn’t get to properly say goodbye because she was in Malaysia,” she said.
“After her passing I have made an active decision that through the clinic and my career in healthcare I would raise more awareness of cancer and support cancer patients.”
Ms Ching hosted the shave at the medical centre, where another three people coloured their hair.
Additionally, another eight team members in Malaysia, Singapore, the UK and America also shaved their heads for the cause.
Ms Ching said she received positive feedback for the day and she felt well supported by not only her family, but also her sponsors and the community.
“It was such a warm experience that everyone had,” she said.
“I think by participating we hope to send a powerful message to those people who are impacted by cancer and going through cancer treatment to let them know they are not in the fight alone and to stay positive.”
Ms Ching said all the hair shaven off is being donated to make wigs, and to be a part of the sustainable hair salon incentive where hair will be used to make ‘hair booms’ to soak up oil in the ocean.
Rural City of Wangaratta Mayor Dean Rees addressed the crowd at the event and praised the efforts of team members, who ranged in aged from seven to 83. Heath Ashcroft, who helps with community fund raising at the Leukaemia Foundation, said the local team’s huge effort to raise more than $9000 will help regional leukaemia patients and their families.
“The money they have raised can home nearly 15 regional families in the city for a week,” he said.
Mr Ashcroft said money raised in the World’s Great- est Shave helps fund leu- kaemia patients’ treatments and accommodations, cancer research, and reduces the number of deaths from leukaemia.
“There are 53 people a day who are diagnosed with blood cancer,” he said. “What we’re doing as an organisation is trying to achieve a lofty goal of no- one in Australia dying of blood cancer by 2035.”
For more informa- tion and to support Ms Ching’s team visit http://my.leukaemiafoundation.org.au/naomifieldew.