The Leukaemia Foundation’s World’s Greatest Shave continues as one of the world’s great charitable initiatives, this year counting Arthur Laundy and grandchildren into the ranks of the bald.
The World’s Greatest Shave began in Lismore in 1998, inspired by a daughter’s love for her Dad going through leukaemia. The community fundraiser saw 200 men shave their head, raising more than $80,000.
This year, 20,000 Australians will take part in the event, raising $800 each on average for an estimated $16 million.
Money raised goes to the Leukaemia Foundation’s support for people with blood cancer, which claims more lives than breast cancer or melanoma. Every day 35 people are told they have leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma or another blood disorder.
The problem caught the attention of two of Arthur Laundy’s grandchildren, who convinced him to sit alongside them for a buzz-cut.
The three men took their place in the chair, in the pursuit of benefactors to the plight of those living with the disorders.
“Please sponsor me to give Aussie families facing blood cancer the emotional and practical support they need,” says Laundy (Snr).
To date Arthur has raised nearly $35,000 – eclipsing his original target of $10,000 – to be the second-highest fundraiser Australia-wide. Grandson Charlie has surpassed his goal of $700, thus far raising $770, and Darcy has blitzed his initial target of $250, so far totalling $950.
Arthur says the decision was his grandsons’ idea, and he is “very proud of them”.
There are reportedly few fundraising campaigns in the world of this size that have been running as long.
Funds have provided vital research to drive better diagnosis and treatments, improved access to new local and international therapies, and ultimately brought the Foundation closer to finding a cure and allowed it to support and care for hundreds of thousands of Australians; every year, the Foundation provides on average 53,000 nights of accommodation, 38,500 trips to and from treatment centres, and engages with and educates over 23,000 Australians, all at no cost.
The changes that have occurred over the past 20 years are significant.
“We now have the ability and technology to diagnose subgroups of blood cancer, which ultimately leads to better care, better treatments and better survival rates,” says ICON Cancer Care Haematologist Dr James Morton. “We are also seeing better outcomes for bone marrow transplants.”
Donate to Arthur’s total here
Donate to Charlie’s total here
Donate to Darcy’s total here
WORLD’S GREATEST SHAVE – Shave Facts
The first-ever Shave event took place in 1998 in Lismore, NSW, inspired by local resident Eric Graydon, who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. The family decided to host the “Shave for a Cure” event, with 200 locals raising more than $80,000
The first official event took place a year later in Brisbane’s Queen Street Mall, hosted by TV personality Grant Bowler. A Guinness World Record was broken on the day for shaving the most heads (1,786) in 24 hours, including members of the Queensland emergency services
In 2000, the World’s Greatest Shave went national
In 2007, the highly successful ‘chin’ campaign commenced, which have featured celebrity incarnations including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gordon Ramsay, Princess Leia, and Mr T
It is estimated that 27,500 kilograms of hair has been shaved and cut over the 20 years
Heads have been shaved in helicopters, state parliament, shearing sheds, rock climbing, on top of Mount Everest, and even underwater