The Eltham community is working together to help a 10-year-old girl achieve her fundraising dream.

Andi-Lee Duncan has decided to have her long hair shaved off to help raise money for the Cancer Society. Before the head-shave, her long ponytail will be cut off so the hair itself can be donated to Freedom Hair to be made into wigs.

What makes Andi-Lee's act even more generous is that she herself lives with a chronic illness.

Her mum, Narketa Duncan, says Andi-Lee was diagnosed with Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis when she was 18 months old.


Since then, Andi-Lee has lived with daily pain, taking a range of medications daily. One of her medications is the same (but at a lower dose) as is used for cancer patients, which is why Andi-Lee wanted to help raise money for the Cancer Society.

While Andi-Lee and her family now live in Whanganui, they lived in Eltham until a year ago.

Her mum's best friend, Ashlee O'Hanlon, still lives in Eltham, as does Ashlee's mum, Katrina Hill.

Ashlee says when she and her mum heard about Andi-Lee's plan to shave her head, "we wanted to help her fundraise".

"We didn't want her to shave her hair off and only raise a little bit of money. We wanted her to have the satisfaction of being able to make a big donation to the Cancer Society."

Katrina says she and Ashlee came up with having a family fun day and car show to support Andi-Lee.

"Through the years we have seen all Andi-Lee has had to go through, regular hospital visits, times where she can't move for 24 hours after a treatment or procedure, all the daily pain and missing out on normal things kids get to do. She is an amazing kid and so kind to others, we really wanted to help her."

Katrina says Narketa is like a second daughter to her, and Ashlee often travels with Narketa and Andi-Lee when they have to go to Wellington hospital to help support them.

"Narketa and Ashlee are really close, they have flatted together in the past as well, so Ashlee has seen the daily struggle Andi-Lee faces. This fundraiser is a way to make sure Andi-Lee keeps smiling."

The fundraiser is purely for the Cancer Society, says Ashlee.

"Andi-Lee wants to raise money for others, not for herself, so we are hoping the event gets plenty of people coming along and donating to her cause so she can hand over a nice big cheque to the Cancer Society after her head shave."

Ashlee says she is grateful to everyone who has already donated prizes and attractions for the day.

"We have a face painter coming, we will have pony rides on offer, a bouncy castle, a barbecue running and lots of raffles as well. Thanks to the fire brigade we have a venue, and we are talking to businesses all around Taranaki, asking them if they can get involved at all."

Andi-Lee and her family will be at the fun day, with Andi-Lee given the important job of choosing her favourite car from the car show to win the Andi's Choice prize.

■ The Family Fun Day and Car Show will take place at the Eltham Fire Brigade paddock on Sunday, March 17 between 10am and 2pm. A gold coin donation is required to enter your car in the car show part of the day.

Andi-Lee also has a givealittle page set up for people wishing to support her head shave.