Cancer battler 'Chalky' Carr shaves head to help 7-year-old girl who lost mum to disease
Three bald heads freshly shaved by an All Black will help make sure one young girl has "as normal a life as possible without her mum".
One of those heads belongs to the team's former logistics manager, Kevin "Chalky" Carr – the others to his two sons, Jamie, 14, and Josh, 12.
Sam Whitelock, a close friend of Carr's off the pitch, manned the clippers for the benefactor, 7-year-old Isla Lunn, on Wednesday.
This time last week the Carrs had never met Isla, but all were "bound together by cancer".
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"She's a very mature girl who's probably had to endure more than what most 7-year-olds have," Carr said.
Isla lost her mother, 38-year-old Kellie Lunn, about six weeks ago to breast cancer. For Carr, the symptoms from a 2016 pancreatic cancer diagnosis had returned the month prior. This time he faced a terminal prognosis.
Carr's goal was to raise $100,000 for Isla, who had "a lot of schooling to get through yet". A Givealittle page has so far raised more than $23,000.
"We want to get a wee nest egg so she's able to do things that everyone is able to do, and sort of try and live as normal a life as possible without her mum."
Carr came up with the idea during his "first round of the second batch of chemo". He was now in the third of 12 rounds in total.
The treatment had been "pretty torrid", he said.
"But even in some of those darkest moments I realised that I was incredibly lucky, in a bizarre sort of way, in that we were financially secure."
Isla's situation resonated because he "realised what impact [cancer] has on other people, particularly . . . family".
Kellie Lunn, a veterinary nurse, was a solo mum. When she died, Isla went to live with grandparents Jennie and Alan Lunn.
"This is just going to give Isla the opportunity to achieve those things that Kellie wanted for her. Her life was that little girl," Jennie Lunn said.
"The only thing I'd say is what a wonderful person Chalky is, really, to make this happen for Isla."
Carr has no plans to stop his efforts there. The Chalky Carr Charitable Trust is being set up to continue similar efforts for people affected by cancer.
It will reach out to sufferers, families and people like Isla, as well as help fund research as there is "no specific pancreatic cancer organisation in New Zealand".
Whitelock, who had Carr MC at his wedding, said the effort Carr had gone to for others during his own battle "just sums him up".
"He's very special to me and my family.
"He's been there on the rugby scene for a number of years now and he's just a special man so any way we can help out, we're more than willing."
Donations can be made online at givealittle.co.nz/cause/ChalkyandIsla