Year 12 boarding student Shanelle Flute from Hughenden has cut off her ponytail in a tribute to her grandmother whom she recently lost to ovarian cancer.
"The cause is very close to my heart, and to the hearts of so many others back home in Hughenden as well as so many people around the world whose lives have been touched by cancer.
"To me, cutting 30cm of my hair is a small sacrifice to help those who are still on a tough road fighting the disease.
"Hopefully, as we have seen through the legacy of the Ponytail Project, it will be a donation that will stand for so much more.
"I feel very strongly about making the lives of those suffering from cancer just a little brighter and hopefully some of my hair transformed in a wig will help to make someone suffering feel more confident and be able to have some kind of normality during a very stressful and scary time in their lives," Shanelle said.
Shanelle is a boarder at St Margaret's Anglican Girls School in Brisbane where she and more than 70 other students and five teachers yesterday cut their hair as part of the school's philanthropy initiative, the Ponytail Project.
The initiative also raised more than $82,000 for the Queensland Cancer Council and the Minotti Trust (established to assist the education of the children of a St Margaret's teacher who lost her life to cancer).
St Margaret's Principal Ms Ros Curtis said the Ponytail Project initiative started five years ago when a group of students felt compelled to make a difference in response to a St Margaret's parent being diagnosed with cancer.
"The Ponytail Project is one of the biggest and best examples of St Margaret's culture of student philanthropy.
"Each year, we see the girls motivated and inspired to genuinely make a difference in the lives of others through the very selfless act of cutting their own hair.
"The girls realise that not only are their ponytails going to be turned into a wig for someone who has lost their hair but that through this campaign they are also making an important donation towards Queenslanders whose lives have been impacted by cancer.
"It's very empowering for them to know they are making a real difference," said Ms Curtis.
Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan commended the students on their efforts and dedication to the cause.
"Each year the students at St Margaret's show their commitment to supporting those impacted by cancer, and we are incredibly grateful for their incredible fundraising efforts," Ms McMillan said.
"Not only does the Ponytail Project provide a way for students to raise funds for the work of Cancer Council Queensland, it gives them the opportunity to learn about the impacts of cancer, including ways to reduce their own cancer risk through making healthy lifestyle choices from early on in life."
Shanelle said she felt privileged to be part of such a significant community movement: "I love being a part of something that is so much bigger than just myself."
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