Dungog mother losing her locks for charity

Losing her locks: Melanie Faulkner is shaving her hair off to support her team "Hope" in Dungog's Relay for Life which raises money for the Cancer Council’s research, prevention, information and support services.
Losing her locks: Melanie Faulkner is shaving her hair off to support her team "Hope" in Dungog's Relay for Life which raises money for the Cancer Council’s research, prevention, information and support services.

It’s only hair!

That’s the feeling behind  Melanie Faulkner’s decision to shave her head for Dungog Relay for Life which raises money for the Cancer Council.

For the young Dungog mother of two, losing her hair is a choice that others who have battled cancer and the resulting affects of treatment, have not been able to make.

But Mel, as she is fondly known, wants to shave her head for cancer awareness and to raise money for  her team “Hope” in next month’s event.

Four years ago Mel lost her mother, Karen Slee, to rectal cancer when her own daughter Ruby was just 11 months old.

Two years later she lost her dad, Bill Slee, to lung cancer when her son Jaxon was four months old.

Mel’s grandmother Doris Murray died of cancer a few months ago and Mel’s father-in-law Craig is a survivor.

“I feel very strongly about shaving my hair because I have not just been told they have got it (cancer),” she said.

“I have been a carer.

“I can tell you it’s hard to be looking after someone you care so deeply about. To wake up in the middle of the night to hear they are crying because they are scared, or you wake up to them being sick and that weak they cannot get out of bed.”

For Mel, it is a special event because her mother Karen was so involved.

“Mum always looked forward to Relay and I never really understood it until that last year when the whole family went with her.

“That last year she walked it, she walked with an oxygen cylinder,” she said.

Last year Mel joined the Relay for Life Dungog committee and Ruby, now aged 5, excitedly counts down the days on the family calendar to the March event.

Mel will shave her head outside Chic Clothing Company in Dowling Street on the day before the relay with husband Matthew’s full support.

Mel says it has affected her deeply losing both parents and remembers the agony of waiting for test results.

“I have been on the side of good and bad but no matter what it can’t stop us from fighting, having hope, but if anything it makes us stronger.

“When it comes to Relay For Life, you walk around that circle, you meet people that have just got told they have cancer, hear of someone who just passed away or see carers that have been looking after people  for years.”

You can donate to Mel’s team at the Relay street stalls outside Lovey’s IGA from 8am until 12pm on February 16, March 2 and March 23. You can register for Dungog Relay for Life online or call Lyn on 0402324164.