Pete and Mariann Thomas of Brassall with Robyn and Alex.
Pete and Mariann Thomas of Brassall with Robyn and Alex. David Nielsen

Couple supporting Greatest Shave

AFTER facing a cancer diagnosis for their young daughter, entering World’s Greatest Shave is no big deal for Pete and Mariann Thomas.

The Brassall couple will join other Queenslanders who will lose their locks or colour their hair, from March 10 to 12.

Their six-year-old was diagnosed with a rare form of kidney cancer known as Wilms Tumour in March 2009, after her mother noticed a lump under her rib cage.

The little girl endured six weeks of chemotherapy before having her right kidney removed and part of her liver shaved off, as well as additional courses of radiation and chemotherapy after the organ was taken out. She still had to undergo scans every two months.

She said taking part in the event was their way of supporting other children faced with a similar prognosis as her daughter.

Mrs Thomas said that determination was further strengthened after they attended a recent Camp Quality weekend on the Sunshine Coast, for children and their families living with cancer. It allowed her to share her fears and hopes with families facing a similar outlook.

“When you get the diagnosis, it is literally like your world has been shattered,” Mrs Thomas said.

“It is a rollercoaster of emotions. A mum we met had a child four years in remission and she said anytime their child went in for a scan, or they found a lump or they lost their appetite ... they feared something was wrong.”

Mr Thomas said through World’s Greatest Shave, the family hoped to raise money to fund research and support other families.

He said he was lucky that his employer, RAAF at Amberley, had been supportive, enabling him to be by his little girl’s side as she went through treatment.

“Some families end up losing their jobs, businesses and even houses,” Mr Thomas said. “Eventually many of them also end up losing their kids.”

Mr Thomas will shave his moustache and head and his wife will colour her hair at daughter Alex’s school, Ipswich Adventist, which will also hold a crazy hair day.

For more information go to www.worldsgreatestshave.com or call 1800 500 088.



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