World’s Greatest Shave a cause close to home for Albany’s Tony Banner

Sarah MakseAlbany Advertiser
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Albany’s Tony Banner will lose his beard in this year’s World’s Greatest Shave to fundraise for his friend battling Leukaemia.
Camera IconAlbany’s Tony Banner will lose his beard in this year’s World’s Greatest Shave to fundraise for his friend battling Leukaemia. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

Albany man Tony Banner will farewell his “COVID beard” next month when he takes a cut for a cause very close to his heart.

Each day, 47 Australians are diagnosed with blood cancer — and just a few weeks ago, Mr Banner’s friend became one of them.

“He’s young, with a couple of kids, a fantastic future and then he’s got this aggressive leukaemia,” he said. “There’s nothing I can do ... but every cent helps.”

Mr Banner, pictured, will join thousands of Australians in raising money for the Leukaemia Foundation through the World’s Greatest Shave, from March 10-14.

The tragic impact of cancer is something Mr Banner’s family knows all too well.

His older brother lost his battle with cancer nine years ago — the fifth generation of men in his family to die from the disease.

“I’m fifth-generation army and the last four generations have all been to war; they have all been shot at, but they’ve all been taken out by cancer,” he said.

“It’s so important to help other families.

“There are not enough funds in the world to fix everything ... so it is up to the general public to help out where they can.”

Mr Banner has spent the past year growing a thick beard, which, along with the rest of his head, will be shaved clean on March 12.

His friends at the Albany Club are “lining up to shave it off” but Mr Banner said no one was more excited to see it gone than his wife, Sheila.

“I grew the beard through stubbornness and I have to admit, it is really bugging me, so I’m looking forward to getting rid of it,” he said.

To support Mr Banner, visit his fundraising page.

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