SENIOR Constable Lisa Pearson no longer has any hair to keep her head warm this winter, but her close friend Francine Sammut will now be able to afford the vital cancer treatment she needs.
A large crowd gathered outside The Coffee Club in Orange Central Shopping Centre on Saturday to watch Senior Constable Pearson slowly loose her blond locks to the razor for Shave to Save.
The policewoman pitched in to raise money to help her former colleague pay for her cancer treatment, which will cost the young mother of two an initial $17,500.
Senior Constable Pearson said she was overwhelmed by the support of community members, who had thrown their weight behind the fundraising campaign.
“I just want to give a big thanks to the Coffee Club for letting us do this outside their business, First Choice Credit Union for their support, all the businesses who donated and the community,” she said.
“It goes to show that we can rally together in times of need.”
She also wanted to thank Best Buy Pharmacy staff who held a barbecue for the cause last week.
Over the six weeks the Shave to Save fund for Mrs Sammut had been running, Senior Constable Pearson said she had raised approximately $2500 including the donations collected from the crowd on Saturday.
“My goal was $2500 and I think we have done that,” she said.
Mrs Sammut was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009, and underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy to remove it, only for it to return in 2012.
Another good friend of the family, Leanne Corcoran, set up an online crowd-funding account a month ago, which had reached $17,653 as of Saturday afternoon.
Mrs Sammut has already had two doses of the treatment, a mixture of Kadcyla and Herceptin, which is relatively new on the market and not covered by the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme.
She will have her third dose on Tuesday before waiting six months to see if the treatment is successful, and if so, she can continue to have extra doses as long as the family can pay for it.
Mrs Sammut said she had her fingers crossed that all would go well, and was thankful for the generosity of Orange residents who had given her the gift of time. “I’m really humbled by it, it’s amazing and so overwhelming,” Mrs Sammut said. “It’s a good community to live in, people really dig deep. I’m just really lucky.”