Four Epworth Geelong employees have shaved their heads in support of a colleague who has leukemia.

Intensive Care Unit (ICU) doctor, Dr. Brian Reynolds was diagnosed with leukaemia in late 2020. After overcoming the shock of his news, the Epworth Geelong ICU team rallied around Brian, wanting to do something to support their popular colleague and his family.

Dr Reynolds agreed to a fundraiser; supporting two organisations who have helped countless people he has had the privilege of meeting over his treatment journey; The Leukaemia Foundation Building of Hope Accommodation Centre and the Epworth Medical Foundation Ethel Gray Benevolent Fund.

ICU Consultant, Dr. Haran Sathianathan, ICU Associate Nurse Unit Manager Luke McMartin and husband and wife duo, Hospital Coordinator Richard Farvis and ICU nurse Toni Mills, all took up the challenge of shaving their heads to support the charities. Dr Reynolds also had his locks removed.

Luke McMartin said goodbye to hair that stretched halfway down his back, with his first haircut in four years.

Mr McMartin said it was an easy decision to shave it off.

“I thought that given how long my hair was, people might support the cause and donate a few dollars,” Mr McMartin said.

“As the idea of the fundraiser formed, other people wanted to be a part of it and that is when the campaign really blossomed. It has taken a collective effort; Toni, Rich, Haran and of course Brain stepping up and getting their heads shaved. Sue Hands did so much work behind the scenes to make this campaign the success it has become.”

The ICU team is tight-knit, with many team members working together since Epworth Geelong opened, almost five years ago.

“Working as a member of a small team, in a very high pressure and high stakes environment, you inevitably go through many intense and challenging experiences together. That makes you realise how much you rely on, and appreciate, the people around you. Those people become like family, in a way. You trust them, you celebrate their wins and you rally around each other when times are tough. Brian is a member of our ICU family and so of course we wanted to support him and his wife, Amanda, in any way we could after his diagnosis last year.”

The shaved hair was donated to Sustainable Salons. This charity organisation turns ponytails into wigs for those who have lost their hair due to cancer and turns shorter hair clippings into compost and floating beams to absorb oil spills at sea.

The shave has so far raised more than $10,000. You can support this Shave and Donate here until 9 April 2021.


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