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Life Shavers . . . Tina Coe (centre) has already shaved her head to raise money for Leukemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand and she will be joined on Saturday by friends (from left) Rachael O'Reilly, Anna Galbraith, daughter Jasmin Pye and Leisa Lee. PHOTO: HELEN HOLT

by Helen Holt

Five South Canterbury women will lose their locks on Saturday in support of those who have lost their lives to leukemia and blood cancer.

The women are Jasmine Pye, her mother Tina Coe and friends Rachael O’Reilly, Leisa Lee and Anna Galbraith.

The team, known as “Life Shavers”, will shave their heads this Saturday at the Speight’s Ale House courtyard from noon.

Mrs Pye was motivated to shave after her brother died of leukemia earlier this year.

“After my brother passed away, I went through a wee slump.

“I thought ‘how can I deal with this grief?’ because I didn’t want to burrow in a corner, I wanted to do something.

“I decided I wanted to shave my head and I told my mum who decided to join me.”

Mrs Pye suggested it to her friends who joined her to create a team. Their goal is to raise $10,000.

Her mother Mrs Coe has already shaved, and has taken joy in using her wardrobe full of scarves.

“I used to dye my hair different colours which amused my workmates, so now I wear a different scarf each day.”

While the family grieved in their own way, it was her other son who struggled the most, Mrs Coe said.

“He donated bone marrow, so he feels like he let everyone down.”

The son will be travelling from Nelson to watch his sister shave her head.

Friend Rachael O’Reilly said she “decided to support Jasmine because I have family friends in Scotland with blood cancer.

“I also made this year my year to do things, like I did the charity bike ride earlier this year. I just want to give to as many organisations as possible.”

As well as shaving, the friends put in enormous efforts to fundraise through social media, placing donation buckets throughout Timaru, and holding “Crazy Hair Days” at gyms and schools.

The donations will be counted on Saturday.

Leisa Lee has twice exceeded her target since the start of her fundraising.

The friends were motivated to fundraise for Leukemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand because it does not get government funding and it contributed significantly to cancer research and supported families of patients.

Mrs Pye will be shaking the donation tin at Timaru Artisan Farmers Market on Saturday. People can also make donations at https://shaveforacure.co.nz/t/thelifeshavers