Kiwi musician shaving hair offSave
By Amy Wiggins
Michaela von Sturmer paid for drum lessons for award winning Kiwi musician Moses MacKay when he was at school - now the singer is doing what he can to support his godmother by shaving his hair off.
The Sol3 Mio baritone will shave off his hair tomorrowas part of Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand's Shave for a Cure.
He will be one of 14 people giving up their locks at an event hosted by Hillary Barry at Farmers in St Lukes. Celebrity "hairdressers" will include Dame Valerie Adams and comedian Paul Ego.
MacKay said the charity supported a cause close to his heart because he had lost his nana to cancer when he was about 10 years old and almost a year ago von Sturmer had been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
"She actually paid for my drum lessons when I was at school - she sponsored me. In a way I'm her sponsor now," he said. "I'm taking her along as my date."
MacKay said he was really excited to be a part of such a good cause.
Von Sturmer, who had a stem cell transplant in October, said it was fabulous he had offered to take part in the campaign - although she would not be joining him.
"I only just got my hair back," the 52-year-old said.
Her prognosis is positive but she is among 21,000 people living with blood cancer or a related condition in New Zealand.
This week is Shave Week and across the country there are 1063 people signed up to shave their hair off.
Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand general manager Georgie Hackett said Shave Week aimed to raise about $1 million for the charity, which receives no Government funding, and increase awareness of blood cancer which claims the lives of more than 920 New Zealanders every year.
The money raised would go toward patient support, research, raising awareness and patient advocacy, Hackett said.
"It's looking really great. People are just incredibly generous and they are doing really, really great things to fundraise for us," she said.
For Auckland man Ian Scott, a trip to the doctor prompted by a lack of energy led to a blood cancer diagnosis.
The 40-year-old was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia in December last year but believed he was one of the lucky ones.
An early diagnosis and quick treatment means he was "very much healthy and facing a very long and bright future", he said.
As a show of solidarity and an expression of gratitude, he shaved his hair off on Monday night as part of Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand's biggest fundraiser.
Scott was joined by seven colleagues who also decided to take part in the fundraiser.
He is now a few months into a course of treatment but because he did not lose his hair, Scott decided to take part in the fundraiser and said he now had a new respect for what other patients had to cope with.
-21,000 New Zealanders living with blood cancer or a related condition
-More than 920 deaths from blood cancer each year in New Zealand.
-Blood cancers combined (leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma) are the fifth most common form of cancer in New Zealand
-Leukaemia is the most common childhood cancer while lymphoma is the most common cancer in 15 - 24-year-olds.
Source: Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand