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Teenager downs hair, raises $6500 for Cancer

An increasing number of young men and women of Indian origin are beginning to join the efforts of their elders in raising funds in aid of cancer treatment and research and the latest among them is 17-year-old Neha Kolhe.

While it is natural for people of her age to pursue therapies and spend time, effort and money to don attractive hairstyles, this teenager decided to clean her scalp of hair to raise awareness of the deadly disease and mobilise finances for ‘Leukemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand (LBCNZ).’

‘Shearing’ ceremony

The Year 12 student of Mt Roskill Grammar School was a source of endearment, inspiration and appreciation Labour MP Phil Goff joined a group comprising family members and friends at a ‘shearing ceremony’ held at Cameron Pools in Mt Roskill on September 21, 2013.

Her commitment and relentless pursuit enabled her to collect $6500 far above her initial target of $5000.

Over the years, this Mumbai-born girl (her family hails from Pune) has also proved to be a brilliant student with laudable achievements, among which the ‘Excellence’ she achieved in Science taken as ‘Accelerated Subject,’ a year ahead of schedule.

Pro Badminton

Her versatility extends to Badminton, representing Auckland at a junior player and as a participant in senior division. She has been named as the Coach for primary school children and as Assistant Coach to Under 13 Auckland team.

Neha’s concern towards Cancer and its deadly effects began as she found a friend, who lost her parents to cancer and was moonlighting three jobs to earn a living for herself and her three younger siblings.

“Soon thereafter, disaster struck closer home when a relative in my family contracted cancer, which took its toll on everyone concerned. Everyone was so helpless and restless that the patient finally succumbed to cancer.”

Laudable thought

As Neha’s parents, siblings and friends were making preparations to celebrate her 17th birthday, she was asking herself a question: “How can I assist in the efforts of individual and institutions in aid of Cancer?”

She learnt of the services being rendered by LBCNZ, an organisation that depends entirely on public contributions, since it does not receive government funding.

“The fact that this organisation is based only on charity and that people can help raise funds through its ‘Shave for a Cure’ campaign motivated me to act,” she said.

Neha launched her own campaign by launching her Facebook Page. She established three independent raffles and raised funds, selling ‘Gulab Jamoon’ at the recently held Ganapati Festival conducted by the Auckland Marathi Association, holding a ‘Bake Sale’ at her School and through other means at various functions.

“The hair on my head will return but those who have lost their loved-ones to Cancer will never get them back,” she said.

But she is not yet done. Her campaign will continue until this time next year and those who wish to donate money may do so online www.shaveforcure.co.nz

The picture (left) shows Neha Kolhe before her head shave. The other picture features her after the event with Phil Goff (centre) and others (from left) Maneesha Abhay and Neel Kolhe and Mt Roskill Grammar School Principal Greg Watson

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