Shaving to support sister's battle

By Shontelle Campbell

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Caelan (left) with her younger sister Mileka.
Caelan (left) with her younger sister Mileka.

Ten-year-old Caelan Hamilton has raised more than $2500 for the Child Cancer Foundation by shaving her hair off.

Caelan has been fundraising since February as a part of the Child Cancer Foundation's Shave your Lid for a Brave Kid 'Fundrazor' campaign. She decided to take part in honour of her seven-year-old sister Mileka, who is battling cancer for the second time.

Mileka and Caelan's mother Samantha Hamilton said the morning of her daughter's big shave, she felt nervous and gobsmacked at how brave Caelan is.

"I don't think people realise how important hair is to a woman or a girl and for her to just take it all off is a complete act of selflessness for her sister," Samantha said.

There was no sign of nerves on Caelan's face during her haircut with Colors Hair Company stylist Emma Higgie. The sisters giggled and smiled adoringly at each other as locks of Caelan's hair fell to the floor throughout the process.

"I love Caelan's haircut. It looks beautiful all shaved off," Samantha said. "You've got a beautiful head and a beautiful face and you're just awesome," she said to her daughter Caelan.

After the haircut was complete, Mileka grinned as she touched Caelan's smooth bald head. Mileka let her sister wear one of her beanies, as she had been nervous about the cold winter chill in the air.

"We're beanie sisters now," Caelan said.

Colors Hair Company owner Djuanne Rusden said she and her staff felt honoured and privileged to be involved in the special moment for the sisters and being a part of the fundraising shave. After watching his daughter proudly from the side lines, Caelan and Mileka's father Allan Quigley joined in the crusade and decided to shave his hair off too.

"I'm happy about the fundraising money going to the Child Cancer Foundation so that they can give it to families that need it for food, fuel and taking care of their kids. I feel really proud of myself for doing it," Caelan said.

The family of four have been through a lot since Mileka was first diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer in her upper right arm, in April 2015. Despite chemotherapy the tumour continued to grow which resulted in an arm amputation in June 2015. Her chemotherapy treatment finished at the end of last year and the family thought they had won their battle until they received some devastating news during a routine scan recently.

They discovered cancer in Mileka's lungs and she is now undergoing chemotherapy again and battling cancer for the second time.

Since Mileka's latest diagnosis her family have set up a donation page at www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/milekasjourneyroundtwo which is to help raise funds to get Mileka's grandparents over from South Africa and Australia to see her and support her during treatment.

- Hamilton News

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