The Leukaemia Foundation’s World’s Greatest Shave turns 20 this week with tens of thousands of Australians joining the already 1.9 million people who have shaved, cut, waxed and coloured their hair over the past two decades to help beat blood cancer.
Beginning back in Lismore NSW, in 1998, the World’s Greatest Shave was inspired by a daughter’s love for her Dad going through leukaemia treatment. The community came together for a fundraiser that saw 200 men shave their head and raise more than $80,000.
This year, 20,000 Australians, predominately women, are expected to be part of the event, raising an estimated $16 million.
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Money raised from the World’s Greatest Shave goes back to the Leukaemia Foundation’s vital support for all Australians diagnosed with blood cancer. The campaign has grown from individuals raising $110 per person on average over the past 20 years, to now raising $800 on average per person.
Leukaemia Foundation CEO Bill Petch said World’s Greatest Shave is an Australian success story and there were very few fundraising campaigns anywhere in the world that had been running as long and of the same size.
“To reach the 20 year milestone is a remarkable achievement and we are so very grateful to all of the extraordinary Australians who have supported the campaign and ultimately helped Australians living with blood cancer,” Mr Petch said.
“World’s Greatest Shave resonates with every Australian who has had a member of their family, or friends and colleagues diagnosed with cancer. Those who sign up to the World’s Greatest Shave feel a sense of solidarity with the people they are helping, not only by the physical act of sacrificing their hair but also by fundraising for a great cause,” Mr Petch said.
Money raised through World’s Greatest Shave has funded vital research to drive better diagnosis and treatments, access new local and international therapies and ultimately move closer to finding a cure.
It has also allowed the Leukaemia Foundation to support and care for the hundreds of thousands of Australians diagnosed with blood cancer over the past 20 years.
ICON Cancer Care Haematologist Dr James Morton said the changes over 20 years for Australians diagnosed with a blood cancer are significant.
“We now have the ability and technology to diagnose subgroups of blood cancer which ultimately leads to better care, better treatments and better survival rates. We are also seeing better outcomes for bone marrow transplants,” he said.
“Despite massive improvements in treatment and survivability rates, we still lose an Australian to blood cancer every two hours and every day another 35 Australians are newly diagnosed.
“We are committed to changing these statistics but we need help and I encourage all Australians to get involved and sign up to this year’s World’s Greatest Shave.”
For more information, visit worldsgreatestshave.com or call 1800 500 088.