Twenty-five senior girl students of Matthew Flinders Anglican Community will 'rock the chop' this month to make a difference in the lives of people affected by cancer when they cut their ponytails in exchange for donations.
Flinders in Buderim is the Sunshine Coast’s first school team for Cancer Council Queensland’s fundraising campaign, the Ponytail Project, which is raising funds for the charity’s work in cancer research, prevention and support.
Flinders’ team is also the region's top fundraiser for the campaign so far this year and, with 25 girls committing to the 'chop', the College team is the third largest group to be involved in 2019.
There is still time to donate and support the Flinders team here
The Flinders students join more than 380 students across Queensland who are cutting off their hair for the Ponytail Project.
Flinders Principal Stuart Meade said the College was extremely proud of the students.
“Not only are we proud of these students for committing to helping people in need but we are also excited for them as they experience the thrill of taking part in something much bigger than themselves that will positively impact the lives of others,” Mr Meade said.
“I invite our Flinders community and residents in the wider community to come along and support our amazing Flinders girls who will each chop off their ponytails in front of the school community at 11:30am on Saturday, 15 June at Flinders' Quarterdeck Café,” he said.
Hairdressers from local salon Suite Three Hair in Buderim, who are committed to sustainability and are sitting at only 5% waste as a business, have volunteered to be in charge of the 'chop'.
The Suite Three Hair team will ensure that the students' precious ponytails will be collected and forwarded to Variety, the foundation that makes wigs for children fighting cancer.
The Ponytail Project was founded by students from St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School in 2015 to help support a parent in the community who had been diagnosed with cancer, asking for donations in exchange for chopping off their ponytails to help those impacted by cancer.
The fundraising initiative is now an annual event and this year alone has raised more than $48,000 for Cancer Council Queensland.
Flinders’ Head of Senior School, Gary Davis said the students chose the worthy cause through their involvement in the 'Youth in Philanthropy' program, facilitated by the Buderim Foundation.
“The Buderim Foundation’s Youth in Philanthropy Program encourages young people to learn about the concept of philanthropy and the power giving can have in a very practical way,” Mr Davis said.
“Our students had to come up with an idea for a philanthropic project of their choice before starting work on an action plan, and the Ponytail Project was their charity of choice.”
Year 12 Flinders students involved in the Ponytail Project said they were excited to be a part of the Flinders team and were ready to lose their locks for charity.
“I wanted to participate because it is a truly unique, enjoyable way to spread awareness and it provides me with the opportunity to support my close family friend - who has only two years to live - and her young family,” Mollie said.
“I am so excited for the chop, and I am looking forward to cutting my hair alongside the very ladies I got to start at Flinders with, and will now get to graduate with - albeit with much shorter hair!”
Year 12 Flinders student Stella said, “For me, being involved in the Ponytail Project is about connecting and contributing through small individual actions that, when combined with this team of girls, incites greater change within the wider community.
“I suppose I am a little scared to cut my hair, however, the event next Saturday is more exciting than scary, and I'm really looking forward to what it will achieve!” Stella said.
College Captain, Amy said, “I've chosen to be a part of this important fundraiser because I think it's a really easy way to be a part of something much bigger than our community bubble at Flinders.
“I want to help the Cancer Council in raising awareness and supporting those who are impacted, and I can do this simply by cutting off my hair,” Amy said.
“it goes to show how little actions domino into something much bigger.”
Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan commended the Matthew Flinders Anglican College students for coming on board.
“In a society where many are focused on appearance, it is wonderful to see young people focused on helping others,” Ms McMillan said.
“Those involved in the Ponytail Project, like the girls of Matthew Flinders Anglican College, have realised that losing some of their hair is a small thing to do, to make a big difference in the lives of others.”
Ms McMillan said more than 3,300 people are diagnosed with cancer every year on the Sunshine Coast, ands funds raised by the Flinders community will enable the Cancer Council to be there for those people every minute, every hour, every day.
“We encourage more teens and more schools to come on board, rock the chop and help us get closer to a cancer free future,” Ms McMillan said.
To register for Ponytail Project or find out more, visit www.ponytailproject.com.au or call 1300 65 65 85.
More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available via www.cancerqld.org.au or 13 11 20.