FUNDRAISING efforts come in all shapes and sizes but when it concerns raising funds for cancer and the person raising the funds has a family member affected by the disease, those efforts carry extra emotional weight.

Renee Winterton’s dad Geoff is being treated for cancer at Latrobe Regional Health (LRH) and as Ms Winterton says, “Cancer really sucks!”

“Dad was diagnosed in September 2022, and has been getting treatment at LRH since then. Having worked in different hospitals as a nurse and being in different hospitals with my son, you know when you’re being treated really well and the Gippsland Cancer Care Centre (GCCC) has been amazing,” Ms Winterton said.

As a result of the care her dad has received and in that position of ‘wanting to do something’, Ms Winterton has enlisted the support of the Rosedale and Inverloch communities to support her goal of raising funds for the GCCC.

“Initially I was looking at $5000, but we’ve already passed that figure so now I’m thinking of $10,000.” she said.

To achieve that goal, Ms Winterton has recruited her hairdresser from 15 years ago to shave off her hair on April, 21 at the Rosedale Hotel, a pub recently renovated by locals in her childhood home town where mum and dad have lived for more than 40 years.

“I started thinking about it around six months ago. It was something I could do and it is something that will make a difference to patients receiving treatment at LRH,” Ms Winterton said.

The money raised will be used to renovate the oncology patient waiting room in the GCCC.

“It’s pretty clinical and not very warm or inviting. And when you think it is where patients wait to see their doctor when they are anxious and might be about to get not great news, well if I can help make it better then that’s a good result,” Ms Winterton said.

“I didn’t want to raise the money for it just to go into a general pool of funds. I wanted it to be tied to a particular project that will aid local people and regional patients, like my dad.”

It would be fair to say that while excited by the prospect of fundraising, Ms Winterton is also slightly anxious about losing her locks, with family and some of the students she works with as a school nurse in the Bass Coast most present in her thinking.

“I’ve started putting posters about the fundraising around school so the students know what’s going on and my kids have been a bit funny – ‘Mum, don’t shave your head’. But it’s been good because I can explain to them I’m doing it for poppy’s hospital, so it’s a good thing and it helps them understand what’s going on a bit more,” she said.

So, with the fundraising effort well and truly underway and the date set, what is Ms Winterton looking forward to?

“We want it to be a good day. The family will be there, a lot of friends will be there. I want it to be fun. While dad has cancer it reminds you that none of us are here for ever and having more fun isn’t a bad goal to have, especially when it’s combined with raising funds for such an amazing cause as the Gippsland Cancer Care Centre,” she said.

Donations to Renee Winterton’s fundraising page can be made at www.mycause.com.au/p/338013/renees-shave-for-the-gippsland-cancer-care-centre