For Hazel Orton, braving the shave is deeply personal. Twelve years ago, she lost her husband Brian to lymphoma. This month, she braved the shave in honour of Brian – and to send a message of hope to all others touched by blood cancer.
“In 2000, Brian was given six months to live,” Hazel said.
“With various treatments, he managed to live for 8 years. We came across the Leukaemia Foundation when Brian needed treatment in Brisbane... All we had to do was ring them and it was all sorted for us. It was one less thing to worry about, and we always needed the accommodation as we travelled from the Sunshine Coast.”
As COVID-19 forced her retirement village into sporadic lockdowns across 2020, Hazel stopped receiving visits from her home-hairdresser. Soon, her hair began to grow out to lengths she hadn’t seen in decades.
“It hasn’t been this long since the nineties! I can sort of make a ponytail... I’ll be quite pleased to get rid of it, to be honest,” Hazel said
Deciding it was finally the right time to take part in World’s Greatest Shave, Hazel set off on a mission to recruit as many of her local village residents to support her cause as possible.
“There are 400 units in our village, and we’re doing letterbox drops around the place. The residents’ committee is helping to distribute an A4 poster I’ve made, so hopefully we’ll get lots of donations!
Soon enough, Hazel had a small army of supporters behind her, managing to raise her target of $1,000 in a matter of days!
Before her shave, Hazel said she felt excited for the day.
“Most people around here are saying I’m so brave! I don’t feel especially brave. It feels good though, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Having now lopped her locks in memory of Bryan and the support she received from the Foundation, Hazel has raised her fundraising goal to inspire more of her community to donate.
“We got $1,000 so quickly, so we’ve raised it to a target of $1,500 now... We might raise it again!”