The mo must go and Simon has his legs waxed

By Alison Brown

It's been growing on Ken McKeagg's face for more than 30 years but for $1000 he's willing to shave it all off.
The moustache that is his trademark is going - much to the delight of his wife and colleagues at the Tauranga Fire Service. What's more - it's all for a good cause.
The Senior Fire Risk Management Officer is one of four firemen at Tauranga and Mount Maunganui stations who are participating in this year's Tauranga Wax Wars - a fundraiser for teen cancer charity CanTeen.
Every two days a young New Zealander is diagnosed with cancer. To raise money and awareness for adolescent cancer, CanTeen stages events like the Wax Wars all around the country during their annual public appeal.
On Saturday, willing volunteers - including those from the Tauranga Fire Service - will be lining up at Bayfair Shopping Centre to have their moustaches shaved or legs and chests waxed in exchange for public donations.
Joining Ken on the day will be three co-workers - Senior Station Officer Nigel Liddicoat and Senior Fire Fighters Bruce Martin-Hendrie and Adam Martin. Ken says the men aren't prepared to go anywhere near a razor or wax strips until they have at least $1000 for CanTeen.
"I've had a moustache for more than 30 years and it's been this shape for the past three years.
"I'm very reluctantly doing this and you could say I've been bullied into it by my co-workers. But at least I can grow it back. A lot of kids with cancer have less choice about losing their hair so it's a very small sacrifice."
He says his wife has never been a fan of the moustache and is looking forward to it coming off.

However, he insists he'll be growing one again.
"It's how people know me."
Other Tauranga locals participating in the Wax Wars include a team from the Western Bay of Plenty police and Tauranga MP Simon Bridges, who is having his legs waxed.
Tauranga teen Haley Thomas is among those urging people to donate. She was diagnosed with a rare cancer a month shy of her 18th birthday and underwent harsh chemotherapy treatment. She says the experience forced her to grow up quickly.
"CanTeen provided the support that allowed me to be a kid again and truly embrace the good things in life, like friendship.
"Although CanTeen may not have cured my cancer as the doctors have, this journey I have undertaken has been made a great deal easier because of them."
The Wax Wars runs from 2pm to 4pm on Saturday. People can also get behind CanTeen by buying a bandanna for $4 from Bayfair and participating stores across Tauranga.
People can make donations online by visiting www.fundraiseonline.co.nz/SimonBridgesMP and www.fundraiseonline.co.nz/TaurangaFireFighters
Haley tells her story of living with cancer
My name is Haley.
I'm 19 and in August last year, two weeks before my 18th birthday, a grapefruit-sized tumour was discovered growing around my rib and I was diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma, a rare bone-soft tissue cancer.
At the time I was deputy head girl at Mount Maunganui College and right into my studies, dancing and football.
But my diagnosis turned everything on its head and stopped my life as I then knew it.
I'd never stayed in a hospital before. I hadn't even broken a bone and now I was thrown into this alternate world, stuck in a hospital bed with nothing but tests and chemotherapy drugs to look forward to.
I began chemo the day after my 18th birthday, two weeks after I was diagnosed.
I had chemo for a week at a time every three weeks and the tumour had shrunk by almost half by the time I was halfway through my first cycle of VIDE chemotherapy. I had six lots of VIDE before I had a break to recover before my surgery.
In January this year I underwent surgery and lost my right lung and the seventh to tenth ribs on my right side.
In March I began my next cycle of VAI chemotherapy. I lost a lot of weight in a short space of time and became very sick.
My friends were all at university so I found it a lot harder to distract myself.
The next few months were very trying both physically and mentally but in June I finished chemo six weeks earlier than intended.
After six weeks I had a check up with my specialist who informed me I was clear of cancer and officially in remission.
Now three months on I'm a lot healthier but still with repercussions from the chemo and losing a lung.
But I'm a lot happier. Being through something like this has changed my outlook on life. I've learnt to take life as what it is.
Stop every now and then just to smell the roses and appreciate what you have and that you are living, because it's so easy for that to be taken away.
And if it weren't for this experience I never would've found CanTeen and the great friends that I've made through them. I've learnt so many new skills and tried things I've never done and that wouldn't have been possible without them.
Throughout the whole experience I always had CanTeen. They visited me in hospital when I needed it and provided a much-needed distraction when the last thing I wanted to think about was my sickness.
They may not have cured the cancer as the doctors have but the experience was made a whole lot easier because of them.
Having cancer has shaped the person I am today and I wouldn't change my experience for anything. I may have missed out on my final weeks of high school and not done all I would have done with my friends last summer but I gained so much through my experiences and the amazing people I have met in the last year.
I am inspired to make the most of life and what I have to offer. I hope, with what have been through, that I can one day inspire others to appreciate what they have. That would make it all worth it.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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