It’s a cause most are familiar with – every year bald thumbs appear on our television screens, encouraging the community to sharpen their razors and shave off their hair.
For 63 year-old Geread Pawluck, the World’s Greatest Shave is a way to honour the memory of his father, who passed away from leukaemia and stomach cancer about 15 years ago.
He has been shaving his hair since he first heard about the global event in 2013, with the aim to give more money to blood cancer and medical research.
“The money we raise will help a lot of people and it’s not just me doing it; they get millions of dollars doing this,” Mr Pawluck said.
“And that goes to fight cancer, enable families to stay close to hospital and the rest goes to research and things are just getting better and better.”
The Latrobe Valley resident, who goes by the name ‘Gerry’, knows all too well how the advances of medical treatment can save lives.
He learned of a brain stem tumour causing weakness in his right hand about 16 years after it appeared.
If it was not for the introduction of Magnetic Resonance Imaging scans or the radiation treatment that followed, that tumour could have spread further through his body.
Instead, it is now “the size of a pea” and proof for Gerry that investing in medical research and facilities is always worthwhile.
“People aren’t dying like they used to with leukaemia and now they can save a lot of people with the treatment they can get,” Gerry said.
“It’s so advanced.”
Gerry hopes to raise about $5000 when he shaves it all off at the Top Pub Morwell Hotel and Flanagan’s Irish Bar in Traralgon next month.
He’ll have the help of long-term friend Dora Carrodus, who is busy organising sponsorship and recruiting volunteers to get involved.
A local hairdresser will shave some of Gerry’s hair and colour anyone else’s who raises their hand from 6pm to 9pm at the Top Pub on 18 March.
The following Wednesday, Gerry will welcome a shiny, bald head, when he appears at Flanagan’s to shave the rest off.
Dora has already persuaded friends Rebekah Ghaly and Katrina DaRos to jump on board, with the pair vowing to colour their hair on the first night.
“I thought I might contribute this year,” Rebekah said.
“I’ve never done it before, so why not?”
It’s this kind of enthusiasm Dora hopes to muster up while she continues recruiting Top Pub staff members and regular customers to join in.
Ms Carrodus is positive the team will reach its $5000 goal through the help of a raffle fundraiser, with prizes to be drawn on each night.
“You’ve got to feel for the families and loved ones of those with leukaemia,” Dora said.
“We’d just like to thank the Top Pub and Royal Exchange Hotel for their support and we’re hoping to see everyone here on the night.”
If you’d like to sponsor the team, buy some raffle prize tickets or get razor-ready, phone Dora Carrodus at the Top Pub on 5134 1355.
EVERY LITTLE BIT HELPS
$36 – helps provide emotional support for someone who’s overcoming the shock of being diagnosed
$58 – offers free transport to a patient who is too ill to drive before and after chemotherapy
$80 – provides a regional family with one night’s free accommodation, close to city treatment
$120 – funds a day’s scholarship to support major blood cancer research projects