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Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Wednesday 11 March 2020
Australia’s only national charity dedicated to help cure and conquer blood cancer, the Leukaemia Foundation officially kick starts the 22nd World’s Greatest Shave across the country from Wednesday 11 March.

This year, the event aims to raise $16.5 million to provide vital support for the 41 Australians diagnosed with blood cancer every day – that’s one person diagnosed with leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma and other related blood disorders every 36 minutes.

Blood cancers are among the most frequently diagnosed and most deadly cancers in Australia. The latest statistics confirm that one in 10 Australians diagnosed with cancer will have a blood cancer, and approximately one in seven cancer deaths in Australia will be due to blood cancer[i]Open this document with ReadSpeaker docReader.

A Leukaemia Foundation spokesperson said over the past decade, the incidence of blood cancer has grown by around 30%.

“We know that blood cancer is a significant problem in Australia. It doesn’t discriminate, it can develop in anyone, of any age, in any territory and at any time. Unlike other cancers, there are no screening programs available and no way to prevent a blood cancer through lifestyle change, ” they said.

“Money raised through the World’s Greatest Shave is critical to ensure that Australians diagnosed with this deadly disease can gain the access they need to the best treatment, supportive care and trusted relevant information, regardless of where they live in Australia,” they said.

As the Leukaemia Foundation’s primary fundraising campaign, the World’s Greatest Shave continues to support and make a significant difference for Australians living with blood cancer. All of the Leukaemia Foundation support services including emotional, information, financial and practical support continue to be provided at no cost.

Last year alone, over 52,000 nights of accommodation were provided to ensure regional families have a home-away-from-home when needing to relocate to a major city for their vital treatment and close to 30,000 patient transport services were provided to and from medical appointments and cancer treatments.

With the support of the Federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt, the Leukaemia Foundation also established Australia’s first National Blood Cancer Taskforce, which includes 30 of Australia’s leading blood cancer experts and stakeholders. This year, the Taskforce will deliver Australia’s first National Strategic Action Plan for Blood Cancer, an evidence-based blueprint to improve survival and quality of life outcomes for people living with blood cancer.

“Thank you to everyone taking part in the World’s Greatest Shave for your support and generosity. Your brave acts of shaving, cutting and colouring your hair make a significant difference to Australian men, women and children living with blood cancer. We can’t do this without you!” said the spokesperson.

It’s not too late to sign up or support this year’s Leukaemia Foundation’s fundraising efforts, simply download the World’s Greatest Shave app, sign up online at or call 1800 500 088 for more information.

ABOUT World’s Greatest Shave

WHATThe Leukaemia Foundation’s World’s Greatest Shave began 22 years go in Lismore NSW and was inspired by a daughter’s love for her father who was battling leukaemia. Today, the event is one of Australia’s most-loved fundraising events. Every year, extraordinary Australians sign up to shave, cut or colour their hair to raise vital funds for the campaign.

Over the past three years, the Leukaemia Foundation’s World’s Greatest Shave has seen a significant increase in women stepping up and ‘rocking a shave’, a courageous and selfless act to support family, friends and loved ones affected by blood cancer. In 2020, this trend is set to continue with women making up close to 50% of all people registered to shave their head and embrace their bald beauty.

WHYBlood cancer is one of the most common cause of cancer death in Australia, claiming more lives than breast cancer or melanoma. Funds raised will help support local families affected by blood cancer through advocating for equal access to new therapies and treatments as well as providing educational, emotional and practical support such as transport and accommodation. All support and services are provided free of charge.

WHOOver 2 million people have participated in the World’s Greatest Shave. Some have a personal connection to blood cancer while others take part to challenge themselves for the greater good.

WHEN: World’s Greatest Shave event takes place during March, however you can sign up, participate or sponsor at any time during the year.

WHEREAcross Australia at home, work, school and in public community locations (see for a list of local places to join)

HOWSign up now at or call 1800 500 088

WHAT’S NEWOver 30,000 kilograms of hair is estimated to have been shaved and cut over 20 years. With ponytails over 20cm long going back to make wigs for cancer patients, in 2020 the World’s Greatest Shave has partnered with Sustainable Salons ANZ to ensure all hair can be re-used, with shorter hair donated to be used in ‘hair booms’ to soak up oil spills in ocean waters.

FUN FACTHundreds of sporting champions and celebrities have shaved, cut or coloured their hair throwing their support alongside every day Australians including Kerrie-Anne Kennerley, Steve Irwin with his family, Larry Emdur, Tex Walker, Shane Crawford, Andrew Symonds, Meshel Laurie, Channel 9’s The Block, Steve O’Donnell and Chantelle Ford (Blockheads), Radio HIT105 Breakfast presenter Abby Coleman and ABC Breakfast TV presenters Paul Kennedy and Nate Byrne.

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Last updated on March 5th, 2024

Developed by the Leukaemia Foundation in consultation with people living with a blood cancer, Leukaemia Foundation support staff, haematology nursing staff and/or Australian clinical haematologists. This content is provided for information purposes only and we urge you to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis, treatment and answers to your medical questions, including the suitability of a particular therapy, service, product or treatment in your circumstances. The Leukaemia Foundation shall not bear any liability for any person relying on the materials contained on this website.