Jon prepares to lose his locks on his own terms
WHEN life gives you lemons you make lemonade - it's an old saying but it's one that Bilambil father of two Jon Boniface is living.
Diagnosed with rare forms of leukaemia and lymphoma, Jon looks likely to lose his trade-mark dreadlocks to the treatment but instead of waiting for that to happen, this weekend he'll take matters into his own hands - well his friends will.
Jon is taking part in "The World's Greatest Shave” for the Leukaemia Foundation - something his wife Bronny did back in 2016 in support of other friends and family. But now it's Jon's turn, and he will lose his trademark dreadlocks at a private family event on Sunday with the dreadlocks being raffled off to those assembled to do the honours.
What was just a fundraiser to begin with has turned personal according to Bronny.
"This is a way he can control the loss of the beautiful treasured dreadlocks he has been cultivating for 16 years while giving to a charity we have supported for many years,” Bronny said.
"Over the years we have had friends and family affected - some lost - some in remission, from blood cancer, multiple myeloma and childhood leukaemia.
"We also thought it was a great way to not scare the kids with the falling out hair process. It has been a scary, traumatising few weeks since we found out on our son's birthday in June.”
Jon said friends had long asked him if and when he'd shave his head.
"I remember a few people who said they'd double or triple their donations back in 2016 when Bronny did it if I did it too,” he said.
"I wasn't ready then however I decided we never say never for the Leukaemia Foundation or people in need.
"I have been cultivating my dreadlocks since 2002! A few are over 70cm long. I've had them a seriously long time and I am going to miss them terribly. It will be so worth it if we can find a cure or help scientists continue the valuable research and trials that changes lives daily.”
Though Jon joked he wouldn't miss the time it took for them to dry after summer trips to the beach.
His initial goal was $5000 but when that was reached a couple of weeks ago he upped it to $10,000 and just a few days out from the weekend event - the total was sitting at over $9000.
Bronny said she was hoping to get a big group of family and friends to their Bilambil home for a barbecue and party on Sunday - not only to watch Jon lose the dreadsbut as a chance for the family to have some precious time with the loved ones who have supported them since Jon's diagnosis.
Jon has already been in out and of hospitals having biopsies - his latest one just today and the family know they have more ahead of them.
"He started the fundraising with no disclosure about his illness but now as the grapevine has been moving fast, he agreed to let me be more public about it, so we can use his and our journey as a way to raise awareness and vital funds in support of The Leukaemia Foundation,” Bronny said.
"It's an organisation I know truly does support those in need just like the Cancer Council. We know those that have fundraised before us are the ones helping us through this incredibly difficult time.”
She said the money wasn't for them, they were already being well supported by the Leukaemia Foundation and Cancer Council, but this was for the future.
"Jon has been well looked after by John Flynn /Tweed Hospital Oncology we can't thank them enough,” she said.