Jessica steps up to lose her locks in mum’s memory

One fateful week in May 2018 is forever etched in Jessica Hooper’s memory as the week that completely changed her life.

“The day I found out my mum had blood cancer I felt my heart break,” she says.

“It was the same week I found out I was pregnant with my first child.”

Jessica who is now 29 years old from Canberra was just 23 weeks pregnant when her mother, Kerrie passed away from what Jessica describes as “the most horrible disease that stole my mum’s light” – multiple myeloma.

“She had been so excited for the pending arrival of her fifth grandchild and I couldn’t wait to see her be the greatest Nana to my little baby,” she says.

“But in just a few months my dad lost his soul mate, my sisters and I lost the best Mum we could have ever wished for and our children lost their Nana.”

Every day another 35 Australians just like Kerrie are diagnosed with a blood cancer. That's one Aussie every 41 minutes.

Although research is improving survival, sadly an Australian loses their life to blood cancer every two hours.

When Jessica shaved her locks for World’s Greatest Shave and having smashed her fundraising goal of $4000, she did so in the hope her efforts will support other families going through what hers did.

“I will never be able to bring my Mum back or heal the heartache that she left behind,” she says.

“What I can try to do is donate a little money to help those with blood cancers get through their treatment a little easier and to help stop loved ones being lost to such a hideous disease.”

With around 400,000kg of hair going to landfill every year, Jessica is electing to go green by donating hers to a worthy cause through the social enterprise Sustainable Salons, who have joined forces with the Leukaemia Foundation to collect and recycle hair shaved or cut by World’s Greatest Shave participants.

Ponytails from hair longer than 20 centimetres will be collected up to be made into wigs for people who’ve lost their hair due to cancer treatment, while shorter hair will be entirely re-purposed, with hair clippings gathered and stuffed into sausage-like stockings to create floating hair booms deployed to clean up oil spills.

“It’s amazing to think that my shave has the potential to either give the gift of hair to people who have lost theirs during cancer treatment or to help save the environment by creating a great new tool to clean up our coastlines,” she says.

“If everyone who shaves for World’s Greatest Shave elects to recycle their hair this way, imagine what we could achieve together.”

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