Village News

Hair today, gone tomorrow

15 April 2024


Clockwise from back left: Caralena Saua, Lorraine Hart, Tricia Gothorp, Christine Dowd, Robyn Gallagher and John Bannister

What does a caregiver, a maintenance team member, a social coordinator, and several Crestwood residents have in common?

Like many of us, each have been touched in some way by the impacts of cancer. However, this group recently united together to bravely shave their heads in an act of solidarity and support for the thousands of Kiwis who are living with leukaemia.

By taking part in the ‘Shave for a Cure’ national campaign, which fundraises for Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand, these bold Crestwood community members are helping in their small, but significant way, to fund the search for a cure.

For John Bannister, who sports a beard and a full crop of hair, and has been part of the maintenance team at Crestwood Village for nine months, his inspiration for going “down to the skin” has been supporting two close female friends living with cancer.

“I just wanted to do something. Two very good friends, including one who was a bridesmaid at our wedding 28 years ago, are living with leukaemia. Even if this just raises awareness, then I’ve done my job,” says John.

John’s idea to take part in the national ‘Shave for a Cure’ fundraising campaign was something he was willing to do on his own, but it had an unexpected, and positive knock-on effect within Crestwood Village.

“I was just chatting about my own plan at the village, when Lorraine (Hart), our Social Coordinator, overheard me and popped her head up from behind the reception desk, and said she would do it with me!

Coincidentally, she’d seen the Shave for a Cure advert on TV the night before. I couldn’t believe on a whim, she offered to do something so radical. But it was great to have her onboard too,” said John.

But for Lorraine, whose mum passed away from cancer, it was her second time participating in the campaign, so she was “very keen to do it again.”

News spread quickly, and once caregiver, Caralena Saua, whose thick black hair reaches her waist, heard about it, she was also quick to join her colleagues in the challenge.

However, Caralena wasn’t a newbie at going bald either.

“This was my fifth time shaving my head for cancer. I have had many friends that have passed from cancer, so I’ll do anything to help. I don’t have much to donate, but I do what I can, and this is part of it,” explains Caralena.

Christine Dowd, one of three residents who took part, shared a similar sentiment with the others: “I’ve had relatives die of cancer, and what really triggered me was attending three funerals in the last three months. Plus, I’m a bit sick of my hair at the moment!”

When the day rolled around for the ceremonial head shave, the village café, where the locks were set to fall, was bursting with supporters including residents, employees, and family members, all there to cheer on their fellow colleagues and residents.

As Rozita, the village hairdresser, flicked on her clippers, a huge round of applause rang out around the room.

In total, the team of six raised more than $1,000 for this very worthy cause.
John’s son Cameron was there to do the clipping honours, quickly converting his dad’s crop of hair into a half-finished mohawk for fun, before shaving the whole lot off.

Sporting a freshly shaved scalp, John shared how the support he’d received made him feel.

“I thought I’d be doing it on my own, so it was great to have so many people get behind the cause. Together I think we made a difference.”

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