Erica shows she cares with shave
SEEING a loved one battle cancer can be a heart-wrenching task.
When breast cancer patient Lia Halsall lost her hair during chemotherapy, close friend Erica Smith was determined to show her support by losing her own locks.
Miss Smith travelled from her hometown of Nowra in NSW to Mrs Halsall's home in Brassall and let her best friend take to her tresses with clippers.
She had added pink to her long blonde locks as part of her efforts to raise funds and awareness of breast cancer, but decided to go one step further.
"I did this to support Lia - now I know how it feels to lose my hair too," Miss Smith said.
"Lia is a really strong women and she has been brave through the whole process. To watch her go through it all was inspirational.
"To give some idea of how attached I was to my hair, every eight weeks I used to travel 2.5 hours just to get my hair cut properly in Canberra. So shaving my hair was not done lightly."
The friends met nine years ago while working at Amberley Air Force Base.
Mrs Halsall, 40, is still based at Amberley as a sergeant in the 23rd Squadron while Miss Smith, 31, now lives in New South Wales and is studying medicine.
Miss Smith said she established Shave for Lia to raise money for The Wesley Hospital Kim Walters Choices Program, after seeing how it helped her friend.
"So far we've raised $5555, smashing our $5000 goal," Miss Smith said.
"As Choices relies solely on donations to brighten the lives of cancer patients, the money is going to a very good cause."
Ms Halsall, who is still undergoing treatment, said she was humbled by the support she had received from her best friend and the Choices program during her treatment.
"I'm so grateful for the care and love I've been shown. It's made a world of difference," she said.
Choices was established in 1998 as a legacy to Kim Walters, wife of former Brisbane Broncos captain Kevin Walters.
The service provides support and information to all women, men and their families affected by breast cancer and gynaecological cancers.
To donate to Shave for Lia visit the website mycause.com.au/page/shaveforlia.