Monday, December 31, 2007

Number one for Bianca

GREER McDONALD - The Dominion Post | Friday, 07 December 2007


BAD HAIR DAYS OVER: Lea White, whose daughter Bianca has leukaemia, shaved her hair to raise money for the Child Cancer Foundation.
Growing up with cancer

The irony of being given a shampoo sample when she arrived to get her head shaved for a cancer fundraiser is not lost on Lea White.

Growing up with cancer

The mother of two said it would come in handy one day, tucked it in the back pocket of her jeans and hurried to join the masses who had gathered in Wellington's Civic Square yesterday.

"At least I won't have a bad hair day tomorrow," she said.

The event - Funrazor - raised about $50,000 in Wellington in support of the Child Cancer Foundation, with more than 70 people, including 10 policemen, signing up to lose their tresses in the name of charity.

It is a foundation close to Mrs White's heart, after her four-year-old daughter, Bianca, was diagnosed in June with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

"It feels like a prison sentence at the start, but the Child Cancer Foundation gave us a lot of emotional support, petrol and meal vouchers, and even just offering us magazines to read," she said.

Bianca has been receiving treatment, including chemotherapy, since June, and her daily battles have been chronicled on The Dominion Post website through a blog written by her mother.

It was second time around yesterday for Mrs White, who shaved her head when Bianca's hair began to fall out after her first rounds of treatment in June.

"But that time it was a No 4 ," she said of the shave length. This time she decided on a No 1, but admitted to being apprehensive.

As her hair began to fall, the hairdresser declared that Mrs White's head was beautiful. "I feel beautiful," Mrs White said in front of a rapturous crowd.

Bianca was unable to view her mother's daring shave because she was in hospital to receive antibiotics intravenously.

Child Cancer Foundation spokesman Bob Knighton said he felt humbled by those who got their heads shaved - especially the women.

"To lose your hair as a woman is a major sacrifice, but it sends a message of support straight out to families."

He said the foundation did not receive government or other support from cancer-related foundations, so all money raised was well used.

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