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Lost father inspires teen to help others

Tuesday, 22nd February, 2011

FUNDRAISER: Samara Pagano is hoping to raise more than $2,500 in the World’s Greatest Shave in memory of her father FUNDRAISER: Samara Pagano is hoping to raise more than $2,500 in the World’s Greatest Shave in memory of her father

One brave young woman is helping others by joining the World's Greatest Shave.

Samara Pagano, who is turning 20 in a couple of days, is cutting her hair to raise money for the leukaemia fundraiser.

Last year she lost her father to leukaemia and it made her realise that many people relied on the money raised for cancer research.

"You take for granted how many people need this," she said. Samara's father, Sam Pagano, was diagnosed with cancer in 2009.

Mr Pagano had a tumor in his lower back and due to it being so close to the spine was unable to have it cut out. 

He underwent radio therapy treatment and developed acute lymphoblastic leukemia which, according to Samara, was something children usually got.

In October 2010, at the age of 49, Mr Pagano died, leaving a wife and seven children. 

"It hasn't been easy, it has been very hard. As time goes on it's becoming more real," Samara said.

"He still had five girls to walk down the aisle."

On her World's Greatest Shave registration page, Samara said seeing her father suffer inspired her to help people.

Samara frequently gives blood and is on the bone marrow registry. Her father's death "sparked a humanitarian streak in me".

"I encourage people to donate blood and be on the bone marrow registry. It can go a long way," she said.

The money she raises is going to be used by the Leukaemia Foundation to fund services to support patients with leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma and related blood disorders. It also funds blood cancer research.

"I wanted to raise funds which will go to research and a funding house for rural people who can't afford housing in the city," she said.

Samara's initial goal was to raise $2500 but now she is hoping to raise a lot more. "I have high hopes," she said.

Samara's hair is quite long and she is planning to cut it off to just under her chin. She said she hasn't had short hair since she was a child.

She will donate her hair to Locks of Love which makes wigs for children suffering from medical hair loss.

There will be donation tins in local businesses for anyone wanting to give.

For more information or to donate visit my.leukaemiafoundation.org.au/samarapagano.

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