News

Leila-Jean loses her locks for charity

By Vanessa Wiltshire

MORE than 100 students at Axedale Primary School watched Leila-Jean Fleming-Marsh shave her head on Monday morning for charity.

Aged nine, the grade four student could be the youngest Australian to fully shave her head for the World’s Greatest Shave, which raises money for the Leukaemia Foundation.

Held annually in March, people of all ages shave, colour, or wax the hair on their head, chest or face. Money is raised for research, and to support people experiencing leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma, which are all types of blood cancer. More than 60,000 Australians are living with blood cancer or related disorders. Thirty-five people are diagnosed every day.

Leila’s father, Kane, who is also a teacher at Axedale Primary, said he was incredibly proud of his daughter.

“This is something she has been wanting to do for a while,” he said. “It’s been in her mind, she’s pretty remarkable.”

Leila’s younger sister and brother, mother and grandparents were all there to support her.

Mum Louise cut Leila-Jean’s hair with scissors and clippers, before Kane finished with a razor. The result: a beautiful, bald scalp. The only thing that remained was a tan line where Leila-Jean had parted her long, blonde hair.

Although Leila-Jean was initially taken-aback with the result, she has no regrets.

“I’ve wanted to do this for a few reasons”, she said. “My best friend’s dad died of leukaemia. My Pa died too, and he was my best friend. Plus, one of my teachers, both of her parents died because of blood cancer.

“Plus, I’m thinking of the kids that have to do this; they don’t get a choice”, she said.

Louise live-streamed the event to friends and family. “We’ve had an enormous amount of positive feedback,” she said. “Everyone is just so proud of Leila-Jean. But none more so than us”.

Over two months, Leila-Jean has raised more than $2,200. With a goal of $3,000, there is still time to donate.

Donate to Leila-Jean by visiting www.worldsgreatestshave.com.au, click ‘‘Donate’’ and search for Leila-Jean Fleming-Marsh.