Deepa Hariharan shaves her luscious locks for the World’s Greatest Shave to raise funds for cancer sufferers
Deepa Hariharan’s friend Natalie Keevil passed away recently. A much-loved member of Deepa’s mothers’ group in Sydney’s Ropes Crossing, Natalie lost her courageous battle with an aggressive form of brain cancer. Another mum in the group, just days before giving birth to her second child, a baby boy, was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“It showed me how unpredictable cancer can be,” Deepa, 32, told Indian Link. “I was really down about the whole situation and wanted to do something for them, something to help.”
The Leukaemia Foundation began advertising their World’s Greatest Shave campaign, one of Australia’s biggest fundraising events, and Deepa had a lightbulb moment.
“My original goal was to raise $3000 and I crossed that,” she said. “I’ve so far raised $3800. Now I want to cross the $4000 mark!”
As part of the World’s Greatest Shave, people sign up to get sponsored to shave, colour or wax their hair. Committed to the cause, Deepa chose to completely shave her hair.
The day of the shaving wasn’t easy, though.
“I cried and cried,” Deepa said. “I had tissues in my hand, it was just really difficult and there were a lot of emotions.”
Mum to two-year-old Tia and a devoted wife to husband Ajoy, several people told her she could back out and she didn’t have to shave her hair, but she persisted.
“It was about showing my daughter that once you’ve committed to something, you go through with it,” Deepa said.
With her mother here from India, standing by for support, Deepa and Ajoy ended up shaving their heads together.
“My husband joined me and I was so worried because I thought our daughter wouldn’t recognise either of us! But when we went home, she just looked at me with no reaction and said, “Oh, mummy cut her hair.’ So it was fine.”
But the freshly shaved head took some getting used to for Deepa herself.
“At first I refused to look in the mirror. I couldn’t look at myself,” she said. “But now, I really like the way I look! When I finally looked in the mirror, I thought, ‘I can pull that off!’ I’m thinking of keeping my hair this way.”
Originally from Mumbai, Deepa moved to Australia seven years ago. She works as a contract coordinator in the CBD.
“I’m really happy that I did it,” Deepa said. “I’ve been getting lots of compliments and praise for taking part in a noble cause. I just wanted to do something to give back.”
Blood cancers including leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma and related blood disorders cannot be prevented and claim the life of one Australian every two hours. The World’s Greatest Shave is the Leukaemia Foundation’s most significant fundraiser and helps give families the emotional and practical support they need, and fund urgent research to save more lives.
To support Deepa’s fundraising efforts visit worldsgreatestshave.com