Raquel's story

Cancer had taken her cousin’s hair, so she let him take hers

Raquel Simpson

For Raquel, cancer in the family was sadly all too familiar. Her grandfather passed away in 2016 from bowel cancer, and only months later she received the devastating call from her cousin Shane that he had testicular cancer.

Known to his family as ‘Speeds’ because of his surname Speedie, Shane had a 2cm tumour on his lymphnode and went through nine weeks of gruelling chemotherapy, causing him to lose his usually lush head of hair.

Every-time they spoke during his treatment, he lamented his hair loss.

“He’d say, my hair’s gone! and I’d try to reassure him that, it’s just hair, it will grow back!” she said.

Then one day, Raquel decided that she would let Shane shave off her hair to raise money for Cancer Council Victoria. So she registered online and set up her very own ‘iWill for Cancer’ fundraising page and held an event at Shane’s house.

“We raised just over $10,000”, she said. “I would’ve been happy for $1,500!”

Raquel feels extremely proud and grateful for contributions from everyone – donations from work colleagues, old friends, and family streamed in.

“I can’t thank supporters enough!” she said. “When someone is going through cancer, you feel helpless. You feel as though there’s nothing you can do. At least this way I’m able to support Shane somehow.”

Raquel grew up very close to Shane – they attended the same school and considered themselves best friends. Old friends from high school, not seen in decades, arrived in numbers to support Shane and donate to the thousands of Victorians impacted by cancer.

With Shane now in remission, Raquel believes that not only is cancer treatment and research important, but it’s also the support and love that gets you through.

“I just hope for a future when my kids are my age that cancer is in the past. I hope they tell me one day, mum I’m proud of you.”

As her three and five year old children watched on in the crowd, Raquel knows that her dedication will make a big difference.

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