“I feel cold,” said Annabell Knox, running her hands over her freshly shorn head.
Cold head, maybe, but a warm heart.
The 16-year-old had sacrificed her hair to raise money for cancer.
She has reason to care about cancer sufferers.
Her younger brother, Bradley, was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a bone tumour, in April, shortly before his eleventh birthday. He will be in the Westmead Children’s Hospital, Sydney, for the next nine months.
When she found out, Annabell decided to take part in the World’s Greatest Shave to raise money for the Leukaemia Foundation.
“I’ve wanted to do it for some time,” she said, “but my brother going through his cancer made me more determined.”
On Wednesday afternoon, surrounded by friends and family, Annabell sat outside Glen Innes Town Hall, while her schoolmate Brodie Looker wielded the clippers.
She thought Brodie did a great job of shaving her hair – although, Brodie confessed, he was feeling slightly nervous beforehand.
“This is the first time I’ve ever actually cut anybody’s hair!” he said.
His trick to practising head shaving? “I just watched Mum do it when she gave me a haircut all those times."
“It’s all to a good cause, to help people with cancer and also to help her brother,” Brodie said. “It's a kind thing that she's doing, because she's got beautiful, long hair.”
Until the weather warms up, Annabell will sport her thermo-beanie – definitely needed for the Glen Innes winter!
“It’s cold enough with hair!”
Still, she laughed, there are some advantages.
"I don't have to worry about making a mess of my hair throughout the day, or about brushing it before school..."
"Or split ends," Brodie added.
"I can get ready for school earlier, and sleep in because I don't have to worry about brushing it!"
Annabell had raised more than $1000 before the event – and another $50 came in while she was in the barber’s chair.
Community support, she said, has been amazing.
“I have no words to describe it; there’s so much of it,” she said. “There are people who care, and who are very supportive and lovely, and there’s lots of support for anyone who needs it.”
A second fund-raising day will be held at Glen Innes School. Half the money will go to a brain cancer foundation, and half to the World’s Greatest Shave.
The Glen Innes Lioness Club’s trivia night on August 18 will also raise money for children with cancer, including Bradley.
If you want to sponsor Annabell, you can do so on the World’s Greatest Shave webpage.