Page 919 - Week 03 - Thursday, 10 March 2005

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World’s Greatest Shave 2005

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (5.39): Mr Speaker, today I participated in an event known as the World’s Greatest Shave 2005 at King O’Malley’s hotel in Canberra and had my hair coloured in the symbolic colour of green as part of the events leading up to St Patrick’s Day; but, in fact, this event was all about supporting the Leukaemia Foundation, a very worthy cause.

Among the people present today was Sarah Ryan, who had the task of colouring my hair for me, and a number of Raiders players, including Jason Croker, who had a full head shave. The World’s Greatest Shave 2005 is a successful fundraising event as well as an excellent way of generating public awareness of this debilitating and often fatal disease. It is conducted in a light-hearted fashion. There was a wonderful level of support from different members of the community and the media. The event allows people to address this very serious health issue in our community but also participate and lend a bit of levity to an otherwise fairly bleak topic.

I have known several people who have been affected by leukaemia. All of those I have known survived the illness and were lucky enough to have seen the benefits of treatment and cure. The World’s Greatest Shave public event is being held at King O’Malley’s tomorrow between 4.00 and 6.00 pm. That hotel is a proud supporter of this fundraising endeavour and has had great fun in taking part in the fundraiser over the last four years. It deserves commendation for that.

The patrons and staff of King O’Malley’s will be shaving and colouring their hair to raise funds in an attempt to keep the world record for the most heads shaved in a 24-hour period firmly in Australia. I appeal to all members of the public to get behind this worthy cause. It is a cause relevant for Australians. Indeed, I am advised that between 40,000 and 50,000 Australians live with blood and bone marrow cancers, including leukaemias, lymphomas and myeloma. The Leukaemia Foundation also provides support and care for approximately 50 per cent of these patients and their families.

Mr Speaker, I know that there are many appeals here for funds—I am sensitive to that—but I have sent a note to members and staff with details of this appeal and have provided information as to where people can send a contribution if they are so moved. The Leukaemia Foundation is the only Australian not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the care and cure of patients and families living with blood and bone marrow cancers. The funds raised will ensure that the foundation can improve the quality of life of patients and families through personalised and practical care, which includes a home away from home in the foundation’s 16 accommodation centres, support services, counselling, educational programs, transportation to and from hospitals, and practical assistance free of charge. Indeed, I know that it has one of these homes in Garran, close to Canberra Hospital.

The money raised will also fund cutting-edge research into treatments and cures, which is particularly important. My personal involvement has been spurred on this week by the fact that a close friend who is only in his 40s has been diagnosed with a very aggressive form of leukaemia and the message is brought home to you when you become aware at first hand of cases.

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