Teen leukaemia survivor Carly Galligan helps others through World's Greatest Shave

Survivor: While Carly Galligan's leukaemia is in remission the 13-year-old from Victoria Point is set to shave her hair to raise funds for others. Photo: Cheryl Goodenough

Survivor: While Carly Galligan's leukaemia is in remission the 13-year-old from Victoria Point is set to shave her hair to raise funds for others. Photo: Cheryl Goodenough

After being diagnosed with leukaemia at the age of four, 13-year-old Carly Galligan is going to shave off her hair to raise funds for people with blood cancer.

Diagnosed with leukaemia two months before her fifth birthday, Carly, of Victoria Point, had chemotherapy and several surgical procedures.

Five years later she was told the leukaemia was officially in remission.

Seeing children in hospital during a check-up over the holidays, Carly decided that she wanted to help by doing the Leukaemia Foundation’s fundraiser, the World’s Greatest Shave.

Carly will shave her hair at her school Carmel College about March 15.

“At the hospital I saw kids who had hardly any hair. They were laughing and smiling even though they were so sick,” she said.

Carly does not remember her parents telling her that she had leukaemia, but she remembers being in hospital for weeks at a time.

The teen aims to raise $2000 and has started her campaign by telling her story at her school’s assembly.

Carly has been involved in charity work previously by raising funds for people who were homeless and for a friend who had a brain tumour.

Her father Mick Galligan said he is very proud of his daughter.

“She came and asked how we would feel if she did it. I said that if the school was okay with it, then it was fine.

“It was difficult when she was going through treatment. I am glad that she is happy and healthy now and proud that she wants to help others,” he said.

“Every cent that can be put into finding a cure or doing research is a cent well spent.”

With 34 Australians diagnosed with leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma every day, World’s Greatest Shave is the Leukaemia Foundation’s most important fundraiser.

“World’s Greatest Shave helps us fund urgent life-saving research and give families the emotional and practical support they need, free of charge,” said Dave Simms, head of fundraising at the Leukaemia Foundation.

“When you’re healthy, it’s hard to understand the value of counselling, transport to and from chemotherapy, or being given a free place to stay during treatment if you come from a regional or rural area. But this support matters when you’re too sick to work, and financial and emotional stress levels are high.”

More than 150,000 people are expected to participate in World’s Greatest Shave from March 10 to 13.

While some people shave their hair, others colour their hair, or shave off a beard or moustache. 

“Shavers get to feel some empathy with people who don’t get a choice to lose their hair. This is often described as an unexpected but powerfully life-changing experience by women,” said Mr Simms.

“Ultimately, it’s just hair. What better way to show your Aussie spirit of mateship then by deciding to lose or change your hair for a little while, to help others get through the toughest of times.”

Donations can be made via Carly’s online profile by searching for her name under the ‘Sponsor’ tab on www.worldsgreatestshave.com

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