Merewether High a cut above the rest

Students from the Newcastle school have celebrated 10 years of supporting the World’s Greatest Shave. Luke Horton reports.

Image: No point mulling about it: School captain Sam Bloomfield loses his mullet.

Merewether High School students have again topped the $100,000 mark fundraising for the World’s Greatest Shave.

After raising $119,000 for the Leukaemia Foundation last year, the school celebrated its 10th year of supporting the charity with another colossal fundraising effort.

Adrian Leggett from the Leukaemia Foundation said Merewether High had raised almost $400,000 for the charity during its decade-long involvement.

“It’s an incredible fundraising effort, yet again,” he said.

“Last year Merewether High was the top fundraising school in Australia. When the prefects came to me and said how are we going to match that effort, I told them put it out of their minds and just start again.

“They initially set themselves a fundraising goal of $40,000, which quickly became $80,000, and it’s now very nearly on par with what they raised last year.”

Prefect and fundraising committee head Sam Bottom said he was thrilled students had raised more than $100,000 for a second straight year.

“It’s way better than I expected,” he said.

“It’s an incredible school community and a great competitive spirit we’ve created, all for an amazing cause.”

Year 8 student Bella White raised more than $4000, thanks largely to donations from family and friends.

She said she was a little nervous about losing her hair.

“I didn’t do it last year when I was in Year 7, but I wanted to participate this year because it’s such a good cause,” she said.

“I was a bit nervous about cutting all my hair off, but now it’s gone, I’m OK with it.”

Before the shave, the school heard from Year 12 student Isabel Doherty, who shared her story of a childhood leukaemia diagnosis.

Isabel was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, the most common form of childhood cancer, when she was in Kindergarten.

She spent two years in and out of hospital for treatment.

“I dreaded the leg needles,” she told her fellow students.

“I lost my hair three times and I was always super hungry. My parents remember waking up in the middle of the night and finding me in the kitchen eating a sandwich.

“Mum and Dad said it was the hardest thing to ever happen to us.”

Mr Leggett said the money raised by Merewether High students supported research and helped provide accommodation for young cancer patients and their families.

“As an example, the money the school has raised over the past 10 years would help fund a PhD student’s research for seven years,” he said.

“The most impressive part about the fundraising efforts at Merewether High is that it’s all student driven, that’s not the case in a lot of other schools.”

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