Hawthorn midfielder Chad Wingard is calling time on his luscious locks this weekend in the name of conquering blood cancer, undertaking a heroic shave for the Leukaemia Foundation’s World’s Greatest Shave 2020.
Chad is braving the shave in honour of Oscar Noye, the young son of one of his closest friends. Oscar was recently diagnosed with leukaemia, and a small army has since rallied around the South Australian-based toddler by committing to participate in the Leukaemia Foundation's World's Greatest Shave. More than 45 team members have so far smashed their $50,000 fundraising target, raising more than $68,300 with a mission to keep the tally climbing.
“Oscar is a beautiful boy and true superhero who has shown incredible strength already in his battle with blood cancer, so I didn't think twice about throwing my hand up to help support him and his family and others in similar positions by shaving my hair,” Chad said.
“The Leukaemia Foundation is an amazing organisation that provides practical and emotional support to people living with blood cancer wherever they live, including accommodation during treatment, someone to turn to, and access to the best care and treatment.
"I know it’s been a tough year for our national community between the bushfires and COVID-19 - but blood cancer continues all year round, and every day 41 more Australians just like Oscar are being diagnosed. Please join me in digging deep for this cause by supporting our team's fundraising efforts and or signing up to shave yourself."
Leukaemia Foundation General Manager of Supporters Rachael Lance said over the past decade, the incidence of blood cancer has grown by around 30%.
“We know that blood cancer is a significant problem in Australia. It doesn’t discriminate, it can develop in anyone, of any age, in any territory and at any time. Unlike other cancers, there are no screening programs available and no way to prevent a blood cancer through lifestyle change,” Ms Lance said.
“Money raised through the World's Greatest Shave is critical to ensure that Australians diagnosed with this deadly disease can gain the access they need to the best treatment, supportive care and trusted relevant information, regardless of where they live in Australia."
As the Leukaemia Foundation’s primary fundraising campaign, the World's Greatest Shave continues to support and make a significant difference for Australians living with blood cancer. All of the Leukaemia Foundation support services including emotional, information, financial and practical support continue to be provided at no cost.
Last year alone, over 52,000 nights of accommodation were provided to ensure regional families have a home-away-from-home when needing to relocate to a major city for their vital treatment and close to 30,000 patient transport services were provided to and from medical appointments and cancer treatments.
With the support of the Federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt, the Leukaemia Foundation also established Australia’s first National Blood Cancer Taskforce, which includes 29 of Australia’s leading blood cancer experts and stakeholders. This year, the Taskforce will deliver Australia’s first National Strategic Action Plan for Blood Cancer, an evidence-based blueprint to improve survival and quality of life outcomes for people living with blood cancer.
However, the Leukaemia Foundation is preparing for a shortfall in fundraising this year, with a number of community fundraising events being compromised or cancelled due to COVID-19.
“Blood cancer doesn’t stop – even during a pandemic – and with 110,000 Australians already living with blood cancer and this number projected to more than double to 275,000 in just 15 years’ time1, the numbers are not in our favour when it comes to stretching our services to support all those in need," Ms Lance said.
"The reality is our organisation is relying now more than ever on the generosity of Australians like our brave World's Greatest Shave shavers so that we can continue our important work and move towards achieving our goal to see zero lives lost to blood cancer by 2035, and we deeply appreciate any support through this time to continue this important work.
“Thank you to everyone who has already taken part and is continuing to take part in the World's Greatest Shave for your support and generosity. Your brave acts of shaving, cutting and colouring your hair make a significant difference to Australian men, women and children living with blood cancer. We can’t do this without you!”
Chad Wingard will shave this Sunday 5 July in a special Zoom virtual event with members of the World's Greatest Shave team supporting Oscar.
Click here to support Chad and the rest of the team shaving for Oscar Noye or sign up for the World's Greatest Shave!