17-year-old Georgia from Warrnambool had had enough. Too many of the people she loved had been affected by cancer and she was determined to change that. So, she invited everyone she knew to an event where she shaved her head to raise money for cancer research. She was afraid no one would come…
“Cancer's in our family everywhere,” Georgia said.
“In 2012, my aunty died from pancreatic cancer and in 2013 my pa passed away from bowel cancer. Then my nanny got stomach cancer followed by breast cancer and last year my great uncle passed away from cancer as well.
“It’s hard to cope with it. Cancer’s not only a pressure on the person, but everyone around them. I felt helpless.
"So, I wanted to do something to help, because I didn’t want other people to be impacted by cancer the same that I have been."
An idea was born
“I’ve always wanted to shave my hair or dye it or do something to raise money,” Georgia recalled.
“Seeing my nanny lose her hair, and seeing so many people lose their hair, I thought well why don't I shave my hair.”
“I was very attached to my hair,” Georgia acknowledged with a grin. “It’s a main feature of a girl’s body, part of their identity. But I thought my hair’s going to grow back, it’s just hair.”
Georgia registered for I Will for Cancer and set up a fundraising page.
Cancer Council sent her a pack including posters, a money donation box and stickers to help her promote her event.
With the help of friends and family, Georgia asked businesses to donate prizes for raffles and an auction.
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“It was a Saturday night, I was thinking no one’s going to come, but it turned out we had about 150 people show up,” she said. “They started up the auctions and everyone was buying and bidding on them and I thought, people are actually doing this.”
Georgia’s hair was put in small pigtails and family and friends donated money to cut one off and to take it in turns shaving her hair to a number one.
“We had a minute’s silence and that was when I was starting to get upset and remember why I was doing it,” she said. “It was really hard and this was what made me cry during it.
“We raised $21,315 exactly – that’s always going to be my lucky number,” Georgia enthused.
“That’s not a little amount of money considering my goal was $5,000!
“There were people there I didn’t even know. They came up and gave me a hug and said, “You’re so amazing!”.
“The local community really got behind me. I was so happy with that. For a little town like Warrnambool, for everyone to come together with something like this, it really goes to show what we can do as a community.
“That $21,000 could be the money that cures cancer. Cancer’s affected nearly everyone. It’s in our community everywhere. It’s a horrible illness to have. It’s unfair.”
Georgia’s fundraising advice
“My number one tip for fundraising would be to make it a show and to make it fun for everyone,” she shared.
In addition to asking for donated goods, Georgia set up a fundraising page to take donations and a Facebook page to keep people updated on the event. She also got the support of her local radio station and newspaper to promote the event and help generate word of mouth.
Georgia put up posters at school and had a gold coin donation for students to come dressed in yellow. On the night, she had music and performances from school children as well as local musicians.
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“Do it, because it’s the best thing you’ll ever do,” Georgia said. “I’ve made so many memories from shaving my hair and all the fundraising leading up to it. I definitely don’t regret it."
“It’s changed my outlook on life. I feel like I’ve helped and I feel like I can help, whereas before I felt like I couldn’t do anything.
“It’s given me a sense of relief that maybe in future that cancer’s going to be nothing, it’s just going to be like the flu. I know it’s not going to be like that for a very long time, but we’re hoping and obviously, we’re working towards that.”
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