Gianni, 17, and his peers from Rostrevor and Loreto colleges have this month thrown their support behind one of the nation’s most successful and vital fundraising initiatives – the World’s Greatest Shave. On March 11 this culminated with the Rostrevor head prefect taking on a ‘new look’ as he had his head shaved during an official lunchtime event.
While the annual Leukaemia Foundation fundraiser has captured the imagination of many, beneath the smiles and the fun lies a serious commitment to a disease that takes the life of an Australian every two hours.
Currently, more than 110,000 Australians are living with blood cancer and Gianni’s family is one that understands the heart-wrenching struggle against the disease.
“My uncle had leukaemia as a teenager and spent three months in hospital undergoing intensive chemotherapy, which took a massive toll on his body,” Gianni said.
“Fortunately, he went into a partial remission and my mother, who was a compatible match, provided my uncle with bone marrow for a transplant when she was just 16, which helped save his life.
“There were a lot of complications and no one knew if the transplant was going to work. It was a very distressing time for the whole family, but it all went well in the end and, 34 years later, my uncle Andrew is still living cancer free.
“Almost everyone, somewhere, has been impacted by leukaemia, whether it be a friend at school, someone you work with or someone in your family.”
Every day, 41 Australians are diagnosed with blood cancer and it remains the most significant cause of non-preventable cancer death.
This year the Leukaemia Foundation is hoping to raise $16.5 million nationally through the World Greatest Shave. This money will be used for treatment and research as the Foundation works towards its goal of zero lives lost to blood cancer by 2035.
To support Gianni and the Leukaemia Foundation, visit: https://secure.leukaemiafoundation.org.au/registrant/FundraisingPage.aspx?RegistrationID=774790
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