Abbey’s road to fundraiser
ABBEY McNamara, 15, will lose her locks to raise money for patients and their families living with leukemia and related blood disorders, motivated by what her Dad went through battling the disease.
A Year 10 boarding student at Scots PGC College, Abbey is supporting the Leukaemia Foundation's World's Greatest Shave.
Abbey's Dad, John McNamara, was diagnosed with chronic lymphoid leukemia and hairy cell leukemia in 2006.
The family was devastated, with Abbey's mother Anne, sister Beth, and brother Daniel in disbelief.
"Dad was feeling very unwell and after the doctor sent him for blood tests, leukaemia and chronic Q fever was diagnosed," Abbey said.
"My home town is Glenmorgan, so when Dad needed treatment he had to travel to Brisbane.
"With the assistance of the Leukaemia Foundation, accommodation was arranged for him. Under clinical haematologist/oncologist Dr James Morton, Dad underwent many bone marrow biopsies, two rounds of chemotherapy treatment and multiple blood tests.
"It made Dad weak, and he had to be careful not to get viruses because that can complicate the treatment plan and he has ongoing immune system challenges."
With the wonderful work from the Mater Hospital, Mr McNamara is now in partial remission and has regular check-ups in Brisbane.
Abbey was six years old when her maternal grandmother died in 2004, after a battle with leukaemia and a friend of Abbey's mother died from breast cancer a few years back.
"Being personally touched by loved ones affected by cancer I wanted to help towards finding a cure, and hopefully change the lives of Australians with blood cancer," Abbey said.
"I knew that taking part in the World's Greatest Shave was a way to support this cause.
"I don't want people to have to go through what my family has had to endure. The worry and emotions can be quite overwhelming and it is hard on everyone involved."
Abbey's curly brown locks of hair will be cut by her hairdresser cousin Katie, and they will be donated to make a wig for patients who have suffered hair loss.
Decades of research have improved blood cancer survival; however leukemia is the second biggest cause of cancer death in Australia, claiming more lives each year than better known cancers, like breast cancer and melanoma.
To sponsor Abbey, visit her Leukaemia Foundation page.