Tweed girl sheds hair and tears for cousin
TWEED teenager Bella Valle lost her locks at Southbank TAFE on Wednesday, as she raised funds for her cousin, Nicholas, who is fighting leukaemia.
Bella, 17, organised the event #BellaShaves and set out to raise $3000 for Nicholas, 11, who suffers from the rare blood disease Fanconi Anaemia.
Diagnosed four years ago, Nicholas has been through chemotherapy and two marrow transplants, which tragically failed, leaving no further treatment available.
By the time the clippers completed their work, Bella had raised $4578 and is now targeting $10,000 to send Nicholas to the snowy peaks of New Zealand.
“Me and Nicholas are very close and he hasn’t seen the snow before,” Bella said.
“The family told me five weeks ago they wanted to go to the snow as it was Nicholas’ life-long dream.
“So I decided shaving my head for leukaemia would be a way to get the money for them.
“One of my other cousins shaved for Nicholas and just hearing that he’s just got a couple of months left, I thought it was a great idea.”
Nicholas was on hand on Wednesday to spur Bella on.
“Nicholas said to me before I started the shave that he talked to cancer today and I said: ‘Oh yeah, what did you say to cancer?’ and he said I told cancer to go away, so I said ‘Please, I hope he listens’,” she said.
Bella studies marketing at the Tafe Southbank campus and classmates Jamal Norman, Adhil Naidu, Andrea Reidy, Clara Lin, Ramil Mendoza, Alan Chen, Connie Yee and Neha Sen formed the BellaShaves marketing team, to help put Wednesday’s event together.
Bella shed a tear with the emotion of the situation, but doesn’t have any regrets in losing her hair.
“I didn’t cry today because I was losing my hair, I cried because I love my family and seeing them crying because of the courageous thing I did, made it all so worth it,” she said.
“I can’t wait to give this money to Nicholas and be able to tell him he can go to the snow and not worry about food or how many activities he does in a week, and just to forget about cancer.”
Bella is hoping to reach $10,000 within the next fortnight. Donations can be made at the #BellaShaves GoFundMe page: www.gofundme.com/229fb6c.