Hair-raising effort to fight off cancer

Published 9:00am 2 March 2022

Hair-raising effort to fight off cancer
Words by Ashleigh Howarth

Cancer survivor Chrissy Bates (pictured above left) has already lost her hair while undergoing chemotherapy, but now she is willing to losing her locks again to raise money for research.

The Burpengary mum will be one of many people who will face the clippers for the upcoming Lose Your Locks for Leukemia fundraiser, to raise money for Leukemia Support Qld.

The fundraiser will be held at the Bite Markets in Morayfield on Saturday, March 19, starting at 7pm.

Mrs Bates was 53 when she was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in January 2016, a type of cancer that forms in plasma cells.

While healthy plasma cells help your body fight infections by making antibodies that recognise and attack germs, Multiple Myeloma causes cancerous plasma cells to accumulate in the bone marrow and crowd out the healthy blood cells.

They can also form holes in the bones which results in easy breaks.

“I was feeling so lethargic all the time. I was struggling to stay awake and was wanting to fall asleep at my desk every day,” Mrs Bates said.

“I also had frothy urine and an ammonia taste in my mouth.

“A blood test found my kidney function had dropped down to 18 per cent, which was really scary because doctors say kidney failure happens when it drops to 15 per cent.

“When I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma (grade 3 terminal), it was such a huge shock because I didn’t know what it was.”

Mrs Bates began chemotherapy which included injections into her stomach and tablets.

She also had her stem cells collected and harvested for a transplant, which she had in August 2016.

“For 11 days my blood counts plummeted below the zero mark into negative figures,” Mrs Bates said.

“During this time, as my healthy cells were still making way to the bone marrow, I had to be very cautious of infections.

“I was fighting nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fevers all this time.

“I spent 29 days in hospital.”

Today, Mrs Bates still has regular blood tests, but fears the cancer will return.

“I had the treatment and I call myself one of the lucky ones because I had a good response,” she said.

“Unfortunately, Multiple Myeloma is incurable and untreatable so it will come back, and I will have to go through the cycle again.

“So, any chance I can get to help raise money for research I am all for it, because we need better research for better treatments.”

In addition to the upcoming shave at the Bite Markets, Mrs Bates also participated in a walk to raise money, and has started a support group for others in the community who have been diagnosed, as well as their carers.

Hair-raising effort to fight off cancer
ABOVE: Chrissy Bates, Nikeesha Somerville and Jane McMillan will be taking part in the Lose Your Locks Fundraiser.

Show your support 

Leukemia Support Queensland President Jane McMillan, OAM, is hoping for a big turnout on the night, as all profits go towards supporting local families.

“We are a volunteer-based organisation and 100 per cent of the profits we make go straight back into the local community,” she said.

“The money we raise goes towards helping people who are living with cancer by helping them to pay their bills to help take some of that stress away, because they already have too much to deal with.

“We will also take them to their appointments if it’s necessary, or pay for their parking at the hospital, because that all adds up very quickly.

“We can also organise hampers or gift cards and help them get in touch with counsellors.”

People will be able to register to shave, cut or colour their hair on the night as well.

Visit for more information or support.

Alternatively, you can find out more information about Chrissy’s support group by contacting [email protected]


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