Palmerston North buzz cuts raise for Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand

Rodney Wayne hairdresser Bonnie Wapp takes reveals Shannan Stafford-Hyde's ponytail as he gets a cut to raise money for ...
Warwick Smith/ Fairfax NZ

Rodney Wayne hairdresser Bonnie Wapp takes reveals Shannan Stafford-Hyde's ponytail as he gets a cut to raise money for Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand.

Hair clippers weren't the only thing buzzing as excited crowds gathered outside Farmers in Palmerston North to watch people have their hair shaved off to raise money for a cancer charity.

The Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand's (LBC) official shave week started on Monday, and 21 Farmers stores are hosting public shave events in support.

Although only five people had registered to lose their locks before the Palmerston North event on Thursday, 21 ended up getting the chop, with Rodney Wayne hairdressers providing free services.

Among the shavees was Mirianata Cooper, who lost her mother and father to cancer as well as her uncle who "lost his battle" on Wednesday.

Cooper, who had registered in advance, said she struggled to find sponsorship.

"It was really, really hard. I sent emails to family and put it through Facebook. I don't know if it's because of the times or if people just don't think about it. It's a sickness that doesn't go away - it's a killer."

Suzy O'Brien and Debs Robinson helped to organise the in-store event. This is the fourth year O'Brien has taken part in the shave and she said she believed it was a great way to raise awareness.

"We had a girl through the store last year who was sick with cancer and she has now come out the other side, and being able to support that is huge."

O'Brien said the store was hoping to raise $10,000 before the end of the campaign on April 7, with all money going towards research for a cure and patient support.

Cancer survivor Nardia Cooper has been free of the illness for 11 1/2 years and credits a lot of her strength to the LBC.

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"I lived at the Palmerston North Hospital for eight months . . . and the LBC were always there with support."

Cooper herself took part in the Shave for a Cure in 2010, raising $2500.

First-time shavee Shannan Stratford-Hyde had been growing his hair for three years when he saw an advert on television that moved him enough to do the shave.

"I've had a lot of friends and family pass away in recent years just with cancer-related things and I would have thought by now they would have found a cure."

He hoped to raise money for cancer research and while he liked having long hair, he sees the upside of having a shaved head.

"I can feel the breeze on my head. I haven't felt that in years!"

A similar event was held at Te Aroha Noa Community Services on Thursday where Kristi Whittaker raised $500 by shaving her head.

Milson School was to have three people shave their hair off in front of a school assembly at 2.15pm today.

 - Manawatu Standard

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