'Why I'm shaving for a cure': Mum's sacrifice for cause
A GLADSTONE mum has made the brave decision to shave her head because "cancer patients don't have the luxury".
Jenny Holland's son Brent was a 19-year-old apprentice electrician at the Gladstone Ports Corporation when he and his family received the devastating diagnosis of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia in 2016.
Brent stayed positive and fought hard for his life, undergoing several chemotherapy treatments, radiation and a bone marrow transplant from his brother Scott.
After the transplant the Leukaemia Foundation supported Brent with a gym program to help build his strength to return to Gladstone.
However, 133 days after his transplant a routine blood test "rang alarm bells".
"Another bone marrow test gave the devastating news that the Leukaemia had returned," Mrs Holland said.
"He had one full, final round of chemotherapy before he came home."
Mrs Holland said it was her son's determination to be back with his family, mates and dog that saw him return home in November 2016.
The fun-loving, ambitious and down-to-earth teen lost his battle on February 13, 2017.
Mrs Holland and family friend Hayley White will be shaving their heads on Sunday for the Leukaemia Foundation's World Greatest Shave.
Mrs Holland hopes her family's story and experience will inspire and encourage others to do the same and raise awareness about the importance of the Leukaemia Foundation, blood donations and how it all helps to support families in need.
"MY SON Brent was airlifted to Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital in Brisbane within hours of his doctor's phone call telling us to get to the Gladstone Hospital," Mrs Holland said.
After some initial tests the family was told to go to Brisbane.
"Shortly after we arrived we were contacted by the Leukaemia Foundation and told that our accommodation had already been booked directly across the road from the hospital," Mrs Holland said.
"We were told that we could expect to remain in Brisbane for at least five months while Brent received treatment. We were there for nine months."
Brent was still in hospital going through his first cycle of chemotherapy when the Leukaemia Foundation organised for the family to move into one of its new two-bedroom units close to the hospital.
"For regional families suddenly transplanted to long-term stays in Brisbane the service they provide is invaluable," Mrs Holland said.
Mrs Holland said her family, Brent's friends and GPC colleagues were inspired by Brent's "never give up" attitude during his fight.
"They have all worked together to promote blood donations with their Bleed4Brent donor group, raised funds for the Cancer Council with their Brent's Bogans Relay for Life team and participated in the Leukaemia Foundation's World's Greatest Shave events," she said.
Last year Brent's colleagues donated $3000 to the cause and this year donated $2500.
Mrs Holland and Ms White will be shaving their heads for donations at Brent's memorial chair at Spinnaker Park.
The community is invited to make donations on the day or visit the Bleed4Brent Facebook page.