Twelve year-old Collie student Kaiden Smith is shaving his head on March 15 in support of children going through cancer treatment and raise funds for the Leukaemia Foundation’s World’s Greatest Shave.
Through his own disability Kaiden often visits the Princess Margaret Hospital for children in Perth, where he’s seen first-hand the effects blood cancer has on children and their families in the cancer ward.
Kaiden said that by shaving his head and raising money in the 20th anniversary of the World’s Greatest Shave helps children and their families but also funds research for a cure for blood cancer.
“I am doing it for the friends and families who have lost children to blood cancer. My friend from school ... his brother died of something along the lines of blood cancer,” said Kaiden.
Blood cancer, specifically leukaemia and lymphoma still remains the most commonly diagnosed childhood cancer in children aged between 0 and 14 years in Australia, according to the Leukaemia Foundation.
The Leukaemia Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer Bill Petch said although survival rates were improving there were still an estimated 13,000 people newly diagnosed each year.
“In 1998, children diagnosed with leukaemia would have around a 65 per cent chance of survival. Today, improvements in treatment and care mean nearly 90 per cent will survive the disease.” Mr Petch said.
However the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that diseases such as childhood leukaemia, blood cancers, including lymphoma, myeloma and leukaemia, are still one of Australia’s leading causes of death.
Kaiden said he's excited to shave his head for a good cause and friends and family are very supportive.
"They've been encouraging me and getting me excited for it,” he said.
Kaiden’s sister Brioni North said she’s very proud of her brother for putting up his hand to shave his head to raise funds.
"When he approached me and asked me if he could do it there was no way I could say no. I wouldn't stop him, not for something like that,” Ms North said.
With already $361 raised North is hoping he can raise his set target of $560. Ms North said she would like to encourage more people to join in and shave their head like her brother.
"I think it would be good to encourage other people to get amongst it, the more the merrier, the more funds that can be raised the better the institutes are going to get with their research,” she said.
You can donate at Angeline’s Beauty Salon in Collie or go to https://worldsgreatestshave.com/.