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Michelle Burns; I’m going to be brave and shave my hair!

Tuesday, 11 Mar 2014

ACS member Michelle Burns will this week take part in the Leukaemia Foundation’s biggest fundraiser; World’s Greatest Shave!

More than 11,500 Australians will be diagnosed with leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma this year – equivalent to 31 people every day. Money is needed to continue the search to find cures and to support families.


More than 150,000 people from all walks of life are expected to shave or colour their hair in 2014.

My name: Michelle Burns
My age: 24
My suburb/town: Applecross, WA
My email:

My goal: $5000

Why I’m taking part
I’ve heard so many people say “it’s my one haircut a year”, and I always thought “well that’s not the right attitude to raise money!” So last year I decided to grow my hair as long as possible (it’s even longer than in the picture now) because I knew that women who shave off all their hair seem to make more of an impact, and was hoping to leverage that to raise a lot of money. I have had people close to me go through cancer- leukaemia and other cancers- and am very lucky to be able to say they survived. People ask me all the time if I’m nervous or worried about having all my hair gone, and tell me I’m crazy, but for me this Shave has come to be a show of solidarity and empathy for those people suffering; having your hair fall out during cancer treatment is a harrowing experience, but sufferers go through so much more than that. I get to choose when and where I lose my hair, and will be surrounded by friends and support and I’m perfectly healthy! As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing to fear in that.

So far I have raised about $600, mostly from my generous co-workers! I’m lucky to have a few associations I’m involved with, so have been allowed to put donation boxes in the reception areas of a few offices and hope to raise a bit more that way.

When and where I will make good on my pledge!

My workplace has been very supportive, so my boss will be shaving my head at work! On March 14, all the people who have sponsored me, plus people from the local community, will be invited to come to the office on Friday afternoon to watch it all come off!

Event Details
Venue: Salt Property Group Office Address: 770 Canning Highway, Applecross
Date: Friday, March 14, 2014 Time: 3.00pm (hair is off at 3.30pm!)

Register: OR

World’s Greatest Shave is the Leukaemia Foundation’s biggest fundraiser. Money raised helps to reduce the impact of leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma – through research, and free emotional and practical support (like transport to and from treatment, and accommodation for regional Australians who need to move to the city close to hospital).


Today, 31 Australians are expected to be diagnosed with leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma. More than 50,000 people are living with one of these blood cancers or a related blood disorder in Australia right now.

Blood cancer and related blood disorders can develop in anyone, of any age, at any time. With few clearly identified risk factors and sometimes no real warning, the impact is immense for the person and their loved ones.


In acute or aggressive cases, the person can require immediate and intensive treatment, often within 24 hours of diagnosis. For those living in regional areas, it means leaving work, school and family and relocating to the city, adding to the shock and emotional turmoil.

Treatment for blood cancer can range from months, to several years and generally lasts longer than treatment for other cancers. This can have a greater impact on relationships with others, education, career, and financial security. Families can suddenly find themselves in crippling financial circumstances, especially if the person is also the major breadwinner.

Treatment can be life-threatening and life-changing. Temporary side-effects like hair loss are common, but there can also be long-term effects, like being unable to have children later on.


While decades of research have improved survival, sadly, not everyone survives. Blood cancer claims more lives each year than more well-known cancers, like breast cancer and melanoma.

Incidence and death data sources: AIHW Cancer in Australia, 2012 and ABS Causes of Death, Australia, 2011. Incidence and death data sources: AIHW Cancer in Australia, 2012 and ABS Causes of Death, Australia, 2011.