Friends to grin and bare it for kids' cancer cause

THEY’VE been friends for more than 20 years and tomorrow night three Warrnambool women will take their friendship to the next level when they all end up with the same haircut. 

Deb Johnstone (left), Gill Wheaton and Julie Small are all having their heads shaved tomorrow night as part of a fund-raiser for the Leila Rose Foundation.
140618LP20 Picture: LEANNE PICKETT

Deb Johnstone (left), Gill Wheaton and Julie Small are all having their heads shaved tomorrow night as part of a fund-raiser for the Leila Rose Foundation. 140618LP20 Picture: LEANNE PICKETT

Gill Wheaton, Deb Johnstone and Julie Small will all shed their locks at the Flying Horse Bar and Brewery tomorrow night to raise funds for the Leila Rose Foundation. 

Each has a connection to the childhood cancer charity, with Ms Johnstone and Ms Wheaton both working with foundation co-founder Andrew Chow and Ms Small having known the charity’s namesake Leila Rose and the Chow family. Ms Johnstone is also on the charity’s committee. 

The trio said the idea came up while at a friend’s birthday party in April. 

“I said a head shave was on my bucket list and it sort of happened from there,” Ms Johnstone said. 

“The others said they would be interested too and we decided that if we did it it would have to be for the Leila Rose foundation given we all have that connection.” 

They said they hadn’t set a fund-raising target, because any amount helps the foundation support families of children with rare childhood cancer. 

“I’d say so far we have about $1000, but we haven’t really been keeping a tally,” Ms Small said. 

“We will be taking donations tomorrow night and we have a page on www.JustGiving.com/leilarosefoundation. or people can just give their donation to us,” Ms Wheaton added. 

Ms Johnstone said the charity was helping five families at the moment, covering the cost of bills and accommodation while a child is undergoing cancer treatment. 

They said the general reaction from people had been “you’re joking” or “you’re mad doing it in the middle of winter”, but Ms Wheaton said at least in winter they could cover up with hats and beanies. 

Ms Small said people had wondered why she was going ahead with the shave because she loves her hair. “My hairdresser is going to see a dip in takings for the next 12 months,” she said. 

But all three agreed it was a small price to pay compared to what people with cancer and their families go through. 

Tomorrow night’s shave will happen from 8pm at the Flying Horse on Raglan Parade. 

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