To say that cancer runs in the family is quite an understatement for Fiona Foote.

The Coopers Beach hairdresser's entire immediate family were all battling either prostate or bowel cancer.

Her father died from bowel cancer some years ago and her brother Roger died from prostate cancer at the start of the year.

Her sister recently had major surgery for bowel cancer, while her mother, other sister and other brother were also battling cancer.


Ms Foote also lost three uncles and a cousin to bowel cancer, lost a cousin to leukaemia, while two aunts and another cousin also had cancer.

"Basically, they have all got cancer except me," she said.

Foote blamed a mutant gene in her mother's side of the family. However, little was known about her father's family history.

"I will get it - I know that. It's going through the whole family," she said.

Foote stays vigilant by having a colonoscopies every two years at Kaitaia Hospital - the main way bowel cancer is detected.

But this year, she decided to fight cancer head-on by shaving her hair off in Shave for a Cure, the signature fundraising event for Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand.

While it was mostly bowel cancer that ran in the family, Ms Foote said any fundraising for cancer research was a worthy cause.

She said she was not concerned about how her bald head would look.

"One person said to me 'it's not a good look for a hairdresser' but who cares? I'm not doing it for what I look like, I'm doing it to raise money for cancer," she said.

"Everyone keeps saying 'you're so brave' but I'm doing it for my brother and my family ... I'm quite happy to lose it for a good cause."

Foote had already raised nearly $1000 but she hoped to reach $3000 by shave time.

She will hold a celebratory event in her Coopers Beach hair studio, Tress Hair Design, next Friday before having her hair shaved at 4pm.

Anyone interested in sponsoring Foote was welcome to come to the event or donate online at