When the Greatest Shave really hits home
SHERYL Tamini knows only too well the heartbreak and anguish cancer causes, having lost her first husband and the father of her three young children when he was just 31-years-old.
That was 25 years ago, but for Sheryl the memories remain strong, and to mark the milestone she is participating in the 20th anniversary of the Leukaemia Foundation's World's Greatest Shave.
Sheryl, an administration assistant at Costa's Berry farm in Corindi, will be shaving her head May 31 at a barbecue on site. Costa staff are supporting the event and will be making a gold coin donation.
"My first husband passed away when he was 31 and I was just 29. We had three babies under the age of six at the time,” Sheryl said.
"We were living on the Central Coast and he had just received notification he'd got a position as a fire control officer south of Wagga Wagga. He was basically diagnosed with Grade B Hodgkin's lymphoma on the same day.
"He was told he had a 65 per cent chance of survival.”
Sheryl said 21 days into his treatment, she was told he had a much more aggressive form of cancer and had only a four per cent chance of survival. He died 10 weeks after his first diagnosis.
"We hit a brick wall at every step along the way. It was very traumatic but everyone around him rallied. He had a loving death in hospital with his children, family and friends around him,” she said.
"After he died, I found it really hard to be at home - I just felt like I was drowning. My life had changed so dramatically so I sold my house and moved to Sandy Beach.”
With the support of good friends, Sheryl rebuilt her life and remarried 11 years ago.
"I wasn't looking for anyone else and I was fearful of another relationship but now we have been together 15 years. I feel like I have lived several lifetimes.”
Sheryl said she first participated in the World's Greatest Shave when her daughter was at Woolgoolga High School around 19 years ago.
"Kate was in Year 8 and we both had our heads shaved - that was really emotional,” Sheryl said.
"I really want people to understand how important it is for families of cancer patients to have support.
"We need more research. If we can catch cancer earlier, families won't have to endure what we went through.”
Donations for Sheryl Tamini can be made online at the World's Greatest Shave site: https://bit.ly/2HGzKpM