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Locks lopped for research

Tuesday 16 February 2021

Ipswich's Michaela Hale will lop off her locks to raise money for vital breast cancer research at the PA Hospital campus.

A breast cancer survivor, Michaela will shave her head on 26 February to raise funds for PA Research Foundation's breast cancer campaign Project Pink, as her way of helping advance crucial research, and as a thank you to the hospital where she was treated.

Diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in her right breast in 2012, Michaela had a bilateral mastectomy, followed by six months of chemotherapy at the PA Hospital. The level of care she received from PA Hospital was so high, the hospital has remained in her thoughts to this day and led to her decision to raise funds through Project Pink.

"Everybody at PA is absolutely beautiful. All the nursing staff and the doctors are amazing," she said.

"I love them. It's not that I want to go back up there again if I can help it, but they're really lovely people.

"Everybody that I've dealt with up there has been amazing, very supportive, loving, and caring. They do an amazing job and they don't get enough credit for it."

With the BRCA gene present through the Michaela's father's side of the family, Michaela jumped at the chance to support Project Pink as she knew the funds would go to breast cancer research.

Michaela alongside her sisters Miranda and Samantha

"Priority number one is my kids, I have a daughter, a granddaughter, and another grand child on the way, so it's important to me that this research keeps going," Michaela said.

"I chose the PA too because my surgeon was there, and he was a researcher in the genetics side of breast cancer."

"A few years ago, I did a 'Shave for Cure'. I only did it for them because I didn't know we could do one for breast cancer, otherwise, I would have done it for breast cancer, because my daughter's got the BRCA gene as well.

"If the researchers can find something that makes it even easier to treat it, even from what I went through and others have gone through in terms of treatment, it can only get better.

"The more research there is, the better it's going to get for patients."

To date, Michaela has raised more than $500, and said she has enjoyed using the Team Project Pink website which has made it easy for her to share her fundraising efforts to social media to encourage more support.

Her hairdresser is also planning to post the shave live to Facebook, which Michaela hopes will help to gather more funds for Project Pink.

Though currently considered cancer-free Michaela said part of her motivation to raise funds comes from the knowledge that breast cancer could come back at any time.

"I still live day-to-day, that one day it might come back," she said.

"When I feel a bit yucky sometimes, I'm thinking "Oh no, is this the start?" And I go to the doctors and I get my checks all done. You always have that fear in the back of your mind that there is a high possibility of it returning."

The proud Ipswich grandmother said she is looking forward to seeing her now 12 inches long locks hit the floor on 26 February.

"Having gone through this myself, I hold this cause very close to my heart. Being involved in Project Pink gives me the chance to help raise money and awareness to hopefully one day find a cure because no one should have to go through this."

You can support Michaela's fundraising efforts here.

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