A FORMER Healesville High School student has raised thousands of dollars for ovarian cancer research, with 50 supporters showing their support for a shave event earlier this month.
On Sunday, 18 September, 21-year-old Jaimee Petersen had her head shaved by family and friends as part of a fund-raiser for ovarian cancer research.
The event took place in honour of Ms Petersen’s former teacher, Sue Contarino, who was diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer three years ago.
Ms Petersen underwent her shave at Mocha and Lime Cafe in Healesville with about 50 supporters, including Ms Contarino, and raised $4000 as of Thursday, 22 September.
“I’m feeling great,” she said.
“I wanted to reach $2000 – it’s been a good achievement for myself.”
Ms Contarino praised Ms Petersen at the event for giving up “pride and vanity” to support the cause of ovarian cancer.
“It’s very important to many young people how they look, and to give that up to support ovarian cancer is wonderful,” she said.
She said women should be aware of the “sneaky” symptoms of the disease, which can include tiredness, pain around the ovary area and a bloated stomach.
“Often, when you go to a doctor, they are unwilling to push ahead with a pelvic scan or simple blood test,” Ms Contarino said.
Ms Petersen’s supporters took it in turns to cut off lengths of her hair, before hairdresser Kerry Young cleaned up the haircut.
She said the shorter cut was “definitely chilly”, but she felt good about supporting the cause.
“I guess, every time I’m looking at it, at the start was a bit of a shock – but it’s for a great cause,” Ms Petersen said.
“I know what I’ve done is helping people that need it more than I do – my hair will grow back, and as long as I’m making a stand – or showing that I care – it makes me feel good.”
She said that she was in between studying to become a physical education teacher, a decision she said was inspired by having Ms Contarino as a PE teacher.
“She’s the main reason why I’m looking into it – she made me realise that’s what I want to be,” Ms Petersen said.
Donations to the fund-raiser can be made until 30 September through www.mycause.com.au, by searching “Jaimee Petersen” and clicking the link “Off come the locks”.