Shave brings back memories for Zoe

By Kiri Gillespie

Hundreds turned out and thousands of dollars were raised as two Tauranga schoolgirls shaved their heads in support of young people dealing with cancer.

Otumoetai College student Zoe Mayhew, 17, smiled through tears as her head was shaved yesterday.

Her tears weren't for her lost locks but for her late brother, Archie, who died from cancer eight years ago. Zoe has since been an active member of Canteen, a non-profit organisation supporting young people living with cancer.

Zoe said her brother was still in her heart as she prepared to have her head shaved at the school's quad area, in front of hundreds of her peers.

She braved the crowd despite tears and smiled as cheers of support rang out.

"I just want to kind of give back to them [Canteen] what they have given to me - courage, support through my life, just friendship and a place I can be myself," Zoe said.

By the time of the head shave at lunchtime, Zoe had raised $2500.

Fellow Year 13 student Brittany Peagram, 18, raised $1400 as she also shaved her head in support of Canteen.

"My poppa passed away from cancer a few years ago. I just think it's a good chance to help people who go through that," Brittany said.

Canteen youth worker member services Rachel Palmer said Otumoetai College had more Canteen members than any other local school. Members are either young people with cancer, siblings of young people with cancer or bereaved siblings such as Zoe.

Fellow youth worker member services Charlie Whiteley said Zoe's loss of locks was especially significant because her hair had been her trademark for so long.

"Getting rid of her hair is a really big deal for Zoe. For her, that's the thing she changes, she dyes it all the time, it's very much a part of her personality," Ms Whiteley said.

Canteen does not receive government funding and relies on the generosity of individuals, the community and partners.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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