The Leukaemia Foundation’s 20th year of fund-raising and awareness is up and running on the south-west slopes with Grenfell’s Jim Griffiths, launching his five month commitment to the cause last week.
A resident of the Central and South west regions for more than 40 years, Jim says bringing awareness of “blood cancers”, and leukaemia in particular, is vital in reducing the staggering toll attributed to these forms of cancer.
“Blood cancers account for a large percentage of the 46,000 Australian’s who die from the various forms of cancer each year.
“Bringing awareness to rural regions is paramount in getting early detections and diagnosis, and why not raise funds towards the on-going research programs at the same time.
“With the regions support, we can do so much over the next five months in boosting the 20th year of these major programs,” he said.
Jim’s interest in “blood cancer’s” stems from 19 years as a whole blood donor to the Red Cross Blood Bank, where he is also a volunteer in the promotion of the service’s Mobile Units to towns across central and southern NSW.
As part of the leukaemia program, Jim will join in the “World’s Greatest Shave” losing his blond locks of more than 69 years, next March, at the hands of Grenfell hairdresser Cindy Lawler, owner/operator of Loxley Salon.
He says Cindy has looked after these “curls” for nearly three years, and she’s got a glint of devil and glee in her eyes at the opportunity to take them all off.
“I have a commitment the first weekend in February, so no doubt I will get a “trim” the week or so before, giving Cindy nearly 8-weeks of “curls” to drop on the floor, “ he added.
That will come round on March 13, 2019, and is expected to be part of a major “World’s Greatest Shave” promotion in Grenfell.
The Leukaemia Foundation says this is the general name given to a group of cancers that develop in the bone marrow, originating in developing blood cells that have undergone a malignant change.
“These blood cells multiply in an uncontrolled way failing to mature properly, leaving them unable to function as they should.
“Most cases of leukaemia originate in developing white cells, but in a small number of cases it develops in other blood-forming cells such as red cells or developing platelets.
“Leukaemia can also be either myeloid or lymphocytic, indicating the types of cells in which the leukaemia first started.
“Both adults and children can develop leukaemia, but certain types are more common in different age groups.”
Jim says he first became aware of Leukaemia in the early 1960’s when some high profile people lost their lives as a result of the cancer.
“These included the great singer Nat King Cole, who’s fantastic voice still entertains the world over.
“And not long after, outstanding West Indian cricket captain Sir Frank Worrell, fell victim to the cancer after doing so much to foster the game, including the 1960-61 test series against Richie Benaud’s Australian team,” he said.
Further information about blood cancers is available on the Leukaemia Foundations website at www.leukaemia.org.au, and anyone wishing to donate should go to the fundraising page and look for James Griffiths.