ACT OF SOLIDARITY: Warwick nurse and midwife Rachel Timmers spent a year working in palliative care and was compelled to shave her head to support cancer research.
ACT OF SOLIDARITY: Warwick nurse and midwife Rachel Timmers spent a year working in palliative care and was compelled to shave her head to support cancer research. Rachel Timmers

Warwick nurse takes action after year in palliative care

ONE year working in palliative care was all it took for Rachel Timmers to turn fear on its head and make a daydream into a short, prickly reality.

Moved by the pain she helps cancer patients and their families endure every day on the palliative care ward at Warwick Hospital, 22-year-old Miss Timmers decided it was time to make the chop.

"I had really really long hair and I thought it would make an impact and people would donate more,” she said.

"As an illness it is awful, and it needs a lot more research to find a cure because there are still a lot of people dying.”

But saying goodbye to the long mane of hair that took Miss Timmers 10 years to grow has not been without pain itself.

"I found a few days afterwards it is kind of like I am grieving,” she said.

"I do miss my hair and I kind of get hair envy when I got out in public.

"At first I didn't feel pretty any more and I didn't feel very feminine.”

But Miss Timmers said it gave her an insight into the experience of hair loss that many chemotherapy patients endure.

BEFORE: After 10 years of growing her hair, it was hard for Miss Timmers to part with her long, chocolate-coloured locks.
BEFORE: After 10 years of growing her hair, it was hard for Miss Timmers to part with her long, chocolate-coloured locks. Rachel Timmers

"It is very confronting to see someone die of cancer,” she said.

"I never really learnt much about it in uni, I very much learnt on the job dealing with the family members grieving.”

But helping patients and families find comfort in their final days is a meaningful job for Miss Timmers.

"It's rewarding, in a way, when you can give them a dignified and peaceful death,” she said.

"Making them comfortable - that's the main goal of palliative care.”

But when the time came to go under the razor, Miss Timmers was the one who was glad for the support.

Miss Timmesr was surrounded by friends and colleagues at the Warwick Hospital when she shaved her head on Wednesday, March 14.

So far, Miss Timmers has raised $1860 through her campaign, but hopes people would continue to donate through the World's Greatest Shave website.

Warwick Warrior Woodcutters also donated an antique rocking horse that is over 100-years-old to be raffled in support of Miss Timmers.

Warwick Warrior Woodcutters public relations officer Johnno Felton said the group was pleased to support the cause.

"She is a really dedicated nurse and when you see something good like that we like to support good causes,” he said.

Tickets for the raffle can be bought for $1 at Infusion Coffee Shop at the Warwick Hospital.



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