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Local Bonniefield champion, Henrik Rheeder, has raised more than $30,000 for cancer research after shaving his head and beard at a fundraising event held in Port Dennison last month.

The 41 year old, who hadn’t cut his hair in two years or shaved his beard since 2014, said the event was held in memory of his close friend, Ken Holland and brother in law, Evan de Beer.

“Ken sadly passed away earlier this year from lung cancer, leaving behind his daughter, Erin and sister, Maureen and Evan in 2020 leaving behind his wife, Lizelle and two boys, Zivan and Zanrich,” Mr Rheeder said.

“Both men inspired me to try and make a difference through their ability to stay positive, even through the toughest of times.

“The fundraiser was an opportunity for the community to come together and help raise funds for cancer research, as a fair few people in our community are being affected by cancer right now.

“On the day we had about 50 to 60 people turn up, a live auction, and some donations from local businesses.

“My beard ended up selling for $3600; it was not only a bit of a passion of mine, but also had become a bit iconic to many friends and members of the community.

“A lot of people told me over the two years it was probably time for a haircut, but it was for a good cause and the least I could do.”

Mr Rheeder said he asked for the donation to go toward immunotherapy research as a friend had a positive experience with the treatment.

“I had a close friend diagnosed with lung cancer about three years ago and was told he had six months to live. He underwent immunotherapy treatment, and he is still alive three years later,” he said.

Our Director of Cancer Prevention and Research, Melissa Ledger, said the generous donation would be put towards melanoma cancer research.

“We’re always humbled by the incredible generosity of West Aussies. Mr Rheeder and the Geraldton, and Dongara community have taken the term generosity to a new level! We appreciate it so much, and it’s only through the big heartedness of fundraisers like Mr Rheeder that we are able to do what we do,” said Ms Ledger.

“This money will go towards a local research project that will develop blood tests to help identify melanoma patients that are most likely to benefit from immunotherapy.

“Treatments that activate the immune system have improved survival for a number of different cancer types including lung cancer and melanoma.

“This research project will provide oncologists with crucial information about the tumour to enhance treatment, including improving response rates and reducing unnecessary exposure to toxic treatments.”

For more information

  • To find out more about Do It For Cancer and getting involved through your own fundraising efforts