A show of unity

Headshot of Shannon Smith
Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser

Brave local Jess Johnston took out the clippers in front of a crowd at her fundraiser event on Saturday night for the World’s Greatest Shave, in honour of everyone she knows who has been touched by blood cancers.

The Leukaemia Foundation has run the World’s Greatest Shave annually since 1998, calling on people to shave, colour or wax their hair and raise money towards people and their families affected by blood cancers.

More than 60,000 Australians are living with blood cancers or related disorders, and with 35 people diagnosed each day and one death every two hours, first-time shaver Ms Johnston said the experience taught her more than just how to raise money.

“The night of the fundraising event, as I was shaving my head, I looked up and saw so many people hugging and crying in happiness. It was then I fully grasped what this meant for some people,” she said.

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Complete with an impressive live performance by local band the Foamies, the goal of $2000 has been smashed after a successful Saturday night, now standing at $3000.

“It was a night of celebration, union and showing our strength, and this whole thing has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life,” Ms Johnston said.

She took a moment to reflect on how easily people could get caught up in the everyday nature of life, and how quickly a day, week or year passed by without knowing where any of the time went.

“Cancer, or any life-threatening illness, changes your perception,” she said. “You become mindful and realise what’s important.

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