WHEN the community of Our Lady of the Rosary, Kenmore, heard that one of the youngest members of its school family had been diagnosed with cancer, it decided to stand up and act.
It was late last year that Mitchell, a Year 3 student at OLR, was diagnosed with lymphoma.
Mitchell’s family wrote in a letter, “Having our seven-year old son diagnosed with cancer at the end of last year was devastation.
“Our life was turned upside down over night and the prospect of our son facing months of treatment was daunting.
“We are so proud of Mitchell and the incredible bravery he showed while he endured invasive procedures and several rounds of intense chemo.”
After hearing about Mitchell’s diagnosis, tuckshop convenor and mother to four OLR students Mandy van Deventer and a Year 5 student, Jarvis Czarkowski, spoke about organising a fundraiser.
The school community quickly rallied behind them for a World’s Greatest Shave event, which resulted in more than 20 shaved and coloured heads. But it didn’t stop there; more than 484 students had their heads spray-coloured by senior students as a show of solidarity.
The community raised more than $16,000.
“We stood together today as a community, we stood together to raise funds and awareness for this debilitating disease,” Mrs van Deventer said.
“Today … was about coming together as one.”
Mitchell’s family wrote, “While we are so thankful (Mitchell) has responded very well to treatment, we hope that this money we have raised can go towards finding a cure for this terrible disease, so people like Mitchell don’t have to go through the terrible side-effects of chemo.”
Local hairdressers gave up their time to come to the school to shave and colour the participants’ hair.
Children involved said it was a great success too, especially getting to see some of their teachers and parents shave or colour their heads.
A Year 6 student who attended the day said, “Today was so wonderful because we got to support OLR students who are currently receiving treatment but also to support everyone suffering from cancer.”
Principal Andrew Oberthur said it was great to see the school, parish and broader community rally behind the fundraiser for cancer research.
“While the affected families in the OLR community are walking a tough journey, they know they are supported through this display of unity,” he said.