One of Australia’s most iconic fundraising campaigns, the World’s Greatest Shave, has received a makeover.
For over 15 years, Australians have watched one of the most unforgettable chins grace television commercials, billboards, and newspapers embodying well-known local and global celebrities to raise money to support Australians with blood cancer.
Leukaemia Foundation was forced to re-invent the beloved campaign to reconnect with Australians due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Leukaemia Foundation’s General Manager of Fundraising and Growth, Charlotte Webb, said COVID created the most formidable challenge the campaign has ever faced in its 26-year history.
“Suddenly, the World’s Greatest Shave as Australians know it, which united people in homes, schools, pubs, and clubs across every corner of the country, transformed to participants being forced to shave, cut, and colour their hair behind closed doors and on digital platforms,” Charlotte said.
“As a result, our beloved community events were cancelled, and our fundraising took a significant hit, impacting the work and support the Leukaemia Foundation provides for the growing number of people in Australia living with blood cancer.”
The new-look World’s Greatest Shave was launched on Wednesday, 31 January, with a new slogan: “That’s Bloody Beautiful”.
It celebrates everyday heroes in the community doing “bloody beautiful” acts of kindness to make the world less difficult for blood cancer patients.
“Every single strand of hair that Australians change this World’s Greatest Shave is going to help champion change for the 140,000 Australians living with blood cancer,” Charlotte added.
Funds from the World’s Greatest Shave support the Leukaemia Foundation’s varied support services, including transport and accommodation services for blood cancer patients.
On Father’s Day 2022, Daniel Evans noticed something wrong with his five-year-old son, Tyler.
“Tyler had a fever the night before Father’s Day. He slept in, which is rare for five-year-olds. When he woke up, he was white as a ghost. We took him to the hospital, and he got prodded and swabbed, and they took every sample that they could do.
“After several hours, my wife and I were told it could be a virus or leukaemia. We couldn’t believe it,” Daniel said.
The young family of four from Mount Isa in Queensland were flown to Brisbane to the Queensland Children’s Hospital, where Tyler was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
“Your whole soul leaves your body when you hear those words,” Daniel added.
Tyler immediately went on a treatment plan, and the family were forced to stay in Brisbane for nine months of treatment.
“Being from Mount Isa, we couldn’t go home during Tyler’s treatment,” Daniel added.
The family stayed at the ESA Blood Cancer Village, funded by the Leukaemia Foundation, in Dutton Park in Brisbane.
“It was a terrific village and had everything we needed. The staff there went above and beyond and was so supportive. They were eleven out of ten. We were blown away by how well we were looked after whilst we stayed there,” he said.
Daniel said the fact that the whole family could stay at the village free of charge during Tyler’s treatment was one less stressful worry.
Daniel encouraged everyone to get involved in this year’s World’s Greatest Shave.
“A lot of people who donate don’t understand where the funding goes, but we experienced it first-hand,” Daniel said.
Australians living with blood cancer need the support of the Leukaemia Foundation more than ever.
The Leukaemia Foundation urges the Australian community to sign up to shave, cut or colour their hair for World’s Greatest Shave by visiting: www.worldsgreatestshave.com.