For Victorian detective Jaime Gillard, shaving her head was something she had always wanted to do but had never quite gotten around to.
However, it was participating in the World’s Greatest Shave and knowing that she was helping an amazing cause that finally gave her the push she needed.
“By midway through 2017 I had definitely decided to do it,” the 29-year-old tells Mamamia. “Like a lot of people, I’ve had family members who have been diagnosed with cancer, with some losing their battle with cancer, and I just wanted to do something to show my support.”
And just like that, she signed up to the World’s Greatest Shave for the Leukaemia Foundation, shared her profile on Facebook, and the support very quickly rolled in from family and friends.
Her fundraising target was $560 – and much to her surprise, she exceeded it by $5181.
On the road to that success, she overcame some initial nerves about turning her collar-bone-length locks to a buzzcut – not to mention having the moment filmed on camera.
“It was a little overwhelming, and I was definitely a bit emotional about it,” she says. “I think females use their hair to hide a little bit. It’s reassuring, and you feel a bit exposed without it, but it’s been kind of empowering.
“It was also nice having my friends and family with around me on the day. It was so special and I was really happy to have them there.”
Obviously from going to a lob to no hair at all is eye-catching to say the least, and she’s used this as a conversation starter, igniting discussions about cancer.
“You have no idea how many people it affects until you do something like this,” Jaime says. “It was really nice to chat to people about what they or their family had gone through or are currently going through, or even reminding someone to get a check-up at the doctors for early detection.
“After donating to my fund, a colleague told me about her brother who was currently going through chemo and how difficult that was for the family. And people would offer up their stories. In that way it’s particularly good for the workplace.”
Each year, the Leukaemia Foundation encourages people to sign up and shave their hair to raise much-needed funds to help Aussie families battling blood cancer. This year will be the 20th anniversary of the fundraiser, which takes place from March 14 to 18, 2018.
Now that Jaime has had some time for her look to settle in, she has a few tips for those of us considering to do the same this year. For one, it’s true what they say about bare heads feeling the chill a lot more, but you get used to it. And her number one accessory trick? A pair of trusty statement earrings to look a little bit “less boyish”, Jaime tells us.
At the end of the day, the old cliche remains – beauty is more than skin deep, and hair grows. Jaime’s been surprised at just how quickly her once buzzcut is growing out.
“When it’s all said and done, it’s not about what you look like on the outside,” she adds. “And if you’ve got the ability to shave your head, and want to do it then you should try.
“For people going through cancer. losing your hair can be quite a traumatic experience, and something you have no control over. So I really appreciated the fact that for me it was something I could do on my own terms.”
While she’s raised thousands for a great cause, Jaime has discovered a personal benefit that goes way beyond a simple hair change.
“It’s brought my friends and family closer together and generated some really important conversations,” she says. “It’s been a wonderful experience.”
To take part in this year’s World’s Greatest Shave, visit worldsgreatestshave.com.
Have you done a buzzcut before? What’s your advice? Tell us below.
This content was greatest with thanks to our brand partner The World’s Greatest Shave.
The Leukaemia Foundation has partnered with Mamamia to support the 35 Aussies who are diagnosed with a blood cancer every single day. Blood cancers such as leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma can develop in anyone, of any age and at any time. You can do something extraordinary to help by signingup for the World’s Greatest Shave 20th anniversary in March 2018. Get sponsored to shave or colour your hair while raising funds to give people facing blood cancer the emotional and practical support they need and fund vital research. Simply Click here to find out more information or call 1800 500 088.