Tigers to brave great shave for cancer

Haidee VandenbergheCountryman

This April, a different kind of predator will be stalking the football fields of the south coast - the bald tiger.

Both teams of the Gibson Tigers football club, located in the farming community of Gibson near Esperance, are taking the plunge and shaving their heads - and a waxing a few backs - for the World's Greatest Shave.

Come the first game of the season, around 40 guys and one brave girl will be bald to raise not only money for, but awareness of, cancer.

It's not just those diagnosed and their immediate family that feel ramifications of the disease - cancer affects the whole community.

With two of their teammates, aged just 31 and 21, diagnosed with cancer, Gibson footballer Dale Guest said the whole team felt low.

"With cancer you've got this feeling of complete uselessness, so it was really taking its toll on a lot of the boys," he said. "This was to start giving us something to aim for to help them combat that."

As fellow Tiger Brendan Weckert explained, the shave was giving the team something positive to focus on in light of their friends' illness.

"Everyone is excited about what we're doing and they feel like they're helping the cause, whereas before they felt like they probably couldn't do anything," he said.

The club started out with a target of $5000, with most going to the Leukaemia Foundation and a portion to a foundation for sarcoma, set up by a sister of one of the young players.

In the first week that target was smashed and with another two weeks of fundraising to go, the club has been overwhelmed by the response.

On top of support from corporate sponsors and local businesses, which have donated goods for a fundraising auction, the Tigers have raised more than $10,000 in pledges to go bald.

It's become so big that a team of four hairdressers - and one waxing specialist for those hairy backs - has been recruited for the big shave.

The players will be taking the plunge at the Gibson Soak Hotel on Saturday, April 21 at 1pm with events and a charity auction organised.

For information, contact Dale Guest on 0428 387 440 or Brendan Weckert on 0438 717 262. Online donations can be made at http://my.leukaemiafoundation.org.au/GTFC

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