Having 14 members of his family affected by cancer has given a 15-year-old Reporoa boy the drive to help raise money to find a cure for the disease.

Kirimaene Palmer will take part in the Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand's signature Shave for a Cure fundraiser on February 20 at Whakatane Bunnings from 10.30am to 2.30pm.

He had been busking and sausage sizzling in Whakatane and Taupo over the summer and had already raised about $1300, he said.

Kirimaene said he had been growing his hair especially for Shave for a Cure, as it was usually short.


It was important to support Shave For a Cure because it was a pain that people went through, and a cure needed to be found so people did not have to go through that, he said.

"I was inspired really when my nan got cancer, when I saw that she was going through a lot of pain and wanted to help."

Kirimaene's mother Ange Ruff said her mother, Kirimaene's grandmother, had been diagnosed with lung cancer last year around Labour Weekend.

He told his nan he was going to do Shave For a Cure, Miss Ruff said.

Since saying that, he had lost another aunty to breast cancer and her cousin to brain cancer, she said.

She said Kirimaene had behavioural issues as a child that affected him at school up until last year, but he became very focused once his grandmother was diagnosed.

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Last year he took the Student of the Year award at Reporoa College, Miss Ruff said.

"A lot of family have felt the effects of cancer. Two other family members at the moment are fighting breast cancer."

Both of his grandmothers died from cancer and he had decided he would shave his hair for breast cancer, she said.

She said her son also wanted to help educate people, so he found out about different cancers, what signs and symptoms to look for, and put them on his Facebook page to encourage people to be vigilant.

"I'm really, really, really proud of him."

Six family members, including herself, and six of the Whakatane Bunnings staff are participating in it too, she said.

Miss Ruff and her sister had also dyed their hair bright pink, she said.

Kiwi Cuts will be doing the shaving.

¦Visit Kirimaene's Shave on Facebook or donate to his cause at www.shaveforacure.co.nz.