Steve Carrabs with Levi after his shave
One of our incredible Do It For Cancer fundraisers recently made headlines with his shave for a student and colleague!
Read the story from Perth Now below.
In a touching act of solidarity to end a year characterised by adversity, a Perth teacher has farewelled his much-loved beard in support of a student and colleague who are both battling cancer.
Every day at Our Lady of Mt Carmel in Hilton begins with a prayer for 12-year-old Levi Surjan and long-time teaching assistant Karen Melville.
In March, persistently swollen glands in Levi's neck led to a diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and a 29-day stay at Princess Margaret Hospital where he was immediately started on an intensive round of chemotherapy.
With the small school community already reeling, it was hit with another hammer blow when the popular Ms Melville discovered she also had cancer just weeks later.
Steve Carrabs, Levi's Year 6 teacher, immediately sprang into action, bringing video-conferencing technology into his classroom and setting personalised homework assignments that have allowed Levi to keep pace with his classmates throughout his treatment, which often keeps him away from school.
"It was really quite devastating for our class, we felt really lost and scared," Mr Carrabs said.
"A lot of people don't realise this kind of cancer journey is not just treatment for two or three months - it takes two or three years.
"Levi is a really fun-loving and well-liked kid and the fact he was going to miss quite a bit of time in our class was really hard on us and him."
Levi's mother Vee Vincie credits the tremendous efforts of Levi's school and classmates with keeping him going through the loss of his hair and weakening of many of his muscles.
"The doctors didn't tell us not to take him to school but they scare the living daylights out of you saying you can't have him around people with infectious diseases," Ms Vincie said.
"So during that first term we kept him home but it was like watching him disappear before our eyes so we decided let's let him go to school when he is up for it and just see what happens.
"Keeping him connected and social has made all the difference."
As both Levi and Ms Melville lost their hair, one of Mr Carrabs' other students came up with the idea that he let Levi shave off his trademark beard.
Steve and Levi before the big shave!
Mr Carrabs agreed one on condition: that his class of 30 students first raise $3000 for Cancer Council.
"These are primary school kids so I thought it would be difficult for them to come up with $100 each but they have smashed it and we are well on track for $5000," he said.
"Three girls managed to raise $500 selling little knick-knacks and trinkets and two boys ran a lemonade stand and made over $100 in a day."
The students also hosted a ‘rough sleep out' to raise funds.
Thank you so much to Steve and the Our Lady of Mt Carmel community for helping us get closer to a cancer free future! You really are incredible.
Want to hold your own event?
If you'd like to Do It For Cancer and raise vital funds like Mr Carrabs and Our Lady of Mt Carmel visit doitforcancer.com.au
This story originally appeared on Perth Now. It is republished here with permission.