Cancer survivor trims for research

Father-daughter fundraising effort

JO MCKENZIE-MCLEAN
Last updated 05:00 05/02/2014
Kyla McKenzie
JO McKENZIE-McLEAN/Fairfax NZ
Cancer survivor Kyla McKenzie, of Alexandra, is shaving off her hair on Saturday and her dad Barry McKenzie, of Invercargill, is shaving off his moustache, which he has had for 40 years, as part of a child cancer research fundraiser.

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Alexandra woman Kyla McKenzie does not remember much about having cancer - she was only 2 when diagnosed with nephroblastoma, cancer of the kidney.

However, as a cancer survivor she has always wanted to help fight the cancer battle and a year ago she and her father Barry decided they would raise funds for cancer research through the Cure Kids organisation.

On Saturday they will shave off their hair after her sister's wedding in Wanaka.

"My sister lives in Melbourne and she is coming back to get married so we decided to do it while the family is together. I am not too worried about it. It probably has not sunk in yet but I am not overly attached to my hair.

"My dad though has had his moustache for nearly 40 years. He's had it since he was 20 and he's almost 60. Mum has never seen him without it.

"I have always wanted him to get rid of it and he was like, ‘no', but then he said if I fundraised enough for cancer he would shave it off."

Mr McKenzie, a builder from Invercargill, said he was not worried about losing his moustache but would feel emotional seeing his daughter without hair again.

"I feel apprehensive about Kyla losing her hair. Even though it's been 20-odd years ago, I think I will get a bit emotional. When it fell out in great big chunks it was quite emotional."

Jan McKenzie said her daughter had complained of a sore stomach on a Sunday when she was two and she found a lump.

By Wednesday she was with her daughter in Dunedin Hospital. Kyla underwent 18 months of chemotherapy and an operation to remove the tumour on her left kidney, Mrs McKenzie said.

The 26-year-old travel consultant said she had raised $6200 over the past year through online fund-raising pages, and support from friends, the public and her employer Alexandra House of Travel.

To donate, visit fundraiseonline. co.nz/nomonofro/ and facebook.com/no.mo.no.fro

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- The Southland Times

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