Never out of style
TRENDS may come and go but there's one hairstyle Audrey Plate says never goes out of fashion.
It's that newly shaved look she's talking about - the one thousands of caring Australians will be sporting come autumn.
For Audrey, 42, losing her thick dark locks is the easiest way to support a cause close to her heart - the Leukaemia Foundation.
But going under the clippers at the Gympie Turf Club's St Patrick's Day races on Saturday, March 17 won't be the first time the brave-hearted owner/operator of Bright Sparks Websites has dared to bare for the foundation's annual Greatest Shave fundraiser.
"I did the shave thing in 2000 which was a couple of years after I lost a cousin to leukemia when he was in his early 20s.
"When it's a family member going through something like that you often feel there's nothing you can do except love them and that doesn't feel enough.
"That awareness that there is something you can do, that you can help raise money for research and support, helps.
"I have another family member now who has myeloma but I didn't realise until recently that the Leukaemia Foundation helps all blood cancers - it also helps lymphoma and myeloma patients.
"So I thought, 'I can do that again'."
After signing up for her first Greatest Shave in 2000, Audrey moved from Bundaberg to Gympie where the lock lopping took place.
Twelve years later, she knows lots more people and hopes to raise lots more money.
And the prospect of once again baring all in support of not only a much-loved family member but blood cancer patients all over Australia is not at all daunting.
"In the big picture it's no sacrifice," she said.
"My hair grew back quickly last time.
"I only went to a number four but my mother-in-law nearly had a fit because we had a family wedding to go to just after.
"This time I'm definitely going number two and I'm seriously thinking skin but I have to get someone to check my scalp first."
Audrey says there's room for two more shaves at the St Patrick's Day races where her friend Kathy Howe from Harem Hair will do the honours.
"If you're going to get your head shaved, you want it done properly," she laughed. "Last time it wasn't - I had get my hair cut properly two days later."
Audrey's the first to agree, though, shaving your head, no matter how great the cause, isn't for everyone.
"But there are other ways you can help," she said.
"You can donate blood.
"My cousin had O negative blood and in our huge family no-one else was O negative.
"We did this massive running around looking for someone with O negative and it was amazing how many people we spoke to who had no idea what their blood group was.
"So, my advice would be - know your blood group and donate blood.
"If you want to be a hero, you can be a hero every three months by giving blood."