Her hairstyle may have changed, but her kind-hearted generosity and compassion towards others will always stay the same.
After watching some of her relatives become scarred by cancer throughout the years, Clarence Valley teenager Tahlia O’Hara knows how devastating the disease can be.
Determined to help make a difference, the 18-year-old recently took part in the World’s Greatest Shave in support of the Leukaemia Foundation, raising close to $2000 for Australia’s iconic fundraiser and cutting off her waist-length brown locks which she donated to be made into wigs for those battling cancer.
While she describes the memories of seeing people she loves fighting for their lives as painful, ultimately, it was these reflections which inspired her and gave her the strength to sign up for the World’s Greatest Shave.
“In the beginning, I didn’t take the perspective of asking ‘why do it, why shave my head’, instead, I decided to ask myself ‘why not’, so that’s what I did,” Tahlia explained.
“I have seen the impact and the devastation cancer can create.
“My aim was to do my bit to help with research into this disease in the hope of finding a cure, or some kind of relief for treating people.”
On October 22, Tahlia brushed her long hair for the final time before it was plaited into five sections, cut and shaved by her regular hairdresser Sharyn Rolls of Sharyn’s Hair Affairs.
Her plaited hair was packaged and sent to the Leukemia Foundation who organises the World’s Greatest Shave, while her trimmings were collected to be transformed into compost and used in environmentally sustainable programs including being sent out to sea in biodegradable balloons to absorb oil spills in the ocean.
Despite experiencing a few nervous moments prior to having her head shaved, and wondering how she would look afterwards, Tahlia proudly revealed, “now it is done, I feel as if it’s given me a new confidence in myself and allowed me to feel more comfortable in my own skin.”
Tahlia also confirmed while this has been the first time she has had her head shaved, she previously had 30cm cut off her hair when she was 9, which she donated to an Alopecia charity to support people with chronic hair loss.
In participating in the World’s Greatest Shave, Tahlia said she would love to see a decrease in the number of people diagnosed with and affected by cancer.
“I have been reminded lately just how indiscriminate cancer is,” she said.
“I would definitely encourage others to participate in fundraising efforts such as the World’s Greatest Shave.
“Though it may be a big commitment and change, but people in need are benefiting from such actions.”
- The World’s Greatest Shave is an annual event. All proceeds go towards research, which is needed to find better treatments and cures for leukaemia, lymphomas, myeloma and other related blood disorders.