In 2015, Will Marshall and his family were devastated when he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.
The next two years were long and painful, with Will and mum Jane living in Brisbane while he lost his hair and energy to chemotherapy, and his dad and two sisters remained in Inverell.
“It shattered our world,” Jane said, adding that the family were soon overwhelmed by “the incredible kindness and generosity the Inverell community and our dear friends gave”.
Last Friday Will – now in remission – lost his hair again, this time by choice. He and fellow year six student Josh Flood took the plunge during Ross Hill Public’s family fun day, and have raised almost $4000 for the Children’s Cancer Institute.
The amount is almost four times the pair’s initial plan of raising just over $1000.
“I am so proud of these two boys for having the courage to do the headshave,” Jane said.
“Will has been wanting to fundraise for kids’ cancer this year and do something to help other children who are fighting this horrible disease or help prevent it.”
Will, who is still going through chemotherapy, said it felt “pretty amazing” when his school mates shaved their heads for him, and he wanted to do the same thing for someone else.
He admitted the last two years were the toughest of his life so far.
“At different times I did have a few seizures - it was a bit scary at different times,” he said. He appreciated his family’s ongoing strength through the hard times.
Josh wasn’t sure about the prospect of losing his hair at first, but he was keen to help out his good mate.
“I hadn’t really ever shaved my head before. So it was a big change,” he said. His family were immediately supportive of the worthy cause.
Jane said the families chose the Children’s Cancer Institute because they wanted to fund medical research into finding a cure and better treatments. She said Will was “one of the lucky ones” due to his remission.
“Wouldn't it be wonderful if one day all children diagnosed with cancer could be as lucky?”
“Statistics are improving. Now eight out of 10 kids are surviving, however there still are three Australian children and adolescents that will die of cancer each week”.
Jane said after so much support from the community, it was now her family’s turn to “give back”
“It is such a wonderful feeling – so much easier to be the giver and not the receiver,” she said.
She thanked everyone who had contributed to the fundraiser.