Teen shave raises nearly $20k

SARAH-JANE O'CONNOR
Last updated 05:00 21/03/2014
Alice Taylor
STACY SQUIRES/Fairfax NZ

AFTER: St Margaret's student Alice Taylor, 14, raised about $20,000 for Shave for a Cure, beating Roger Sutton on the most-raised leaderboard.

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Roger Sutton's fundraising efforts may have made the news on television and in the newspapers, but he's been pipped at the post by a 14-year-old who has raised almost $20,000 for Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand.

Alice Taylor had her locks shaved at St Margaret's College yesterday, along with fellow pupil Natalie Vaughan, 15.

Alice lost a grandmother and uncle to cancer, and now her father has a form of blood cancer. Along with Alice's mother and brother, he was in the crowd watching his daughter take to the stage to have her hair shaved in front of a few hundred school girls.

Alice's fundraising efforts were boosted by about 25 of her father's colleagues at Burwood Hospital, who all shaved their heads and donated the money to her campaign. She had no idea about the plan and "freaked out" when her fundraising leapt from $3000 to more than $15,000 overnight. Fellow students Laura Smith, Emily Wildy and Dinuka Karunasekera went first, getting their ponytails cut off. Then Alice was up.

By the time it got down to the nitty-gritty head shave, the wind had picked up and was sending Alice's hair into her mouth and the crowd. To cheers and chants, the last strands were removed and Alice rubbed an unsure hand through her newly shorn hair.

"You look beautiful," someone called from the audience. After a quick look in the mirror, she headed into the crowd to hug her waiting father.

About 2200 New Zealanders are diagnosed with a blood cancer every year. The cause of blood cancers is unknown but they can strike anyone, at any age.

Shave Week runs until Sunday. Donations for Alice's shave can be made at shaveforacure.co.nz.

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