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Irene’s bold act of support

Thursday, 13th March, 2014

Irene Holmes with a picture of her “baby” brother Terry who is battling cancer. Irene Holmes with a picture of her “baby” brother Terry who is battling cancer.

By Darrin Manuel

You’re never too old to join the fight against cancer - just ask Irene Holmes.

The bold 85-year-old will tomorrow get a “crew cut” as part of Shave for a Cure in support of her brother Terry who is battling lung cancer.

Irene and her husband Gerry sailed to Australia from Yorkshire in 1966 as “ten pound poms” - English migrants who were given 10 pounds sterling to come to Australia.

“So for 20 pounds we got a free cruise, and got to come out here,” said Irene.

“It was definitely a good decision. I’ve been back four times but this is my home.”

Her “baby” brother Terry, who is now 71, 

remained in England and developed severe lung cancer in his later years.

“I was 14 when he was born... So I looked after him, bathed him, took him for walks in the pram, fed him his bottle,” said Irene.

“So we’re very close, yet so far away. I’ve been thinking about him a lot.”

Irene said her brother’s struggle was almost over, but she was determined to do all she could to help the next generation overcome cancer.

“They can’t do any more for Terry, it’s very sad, and I can’t see him. He’s just too far away.

“I felt helpless. I just wanted to do something, so I thought if I can save somebody else, well, I’ll do that.”

Irene said she was untroubled by the thought of losing her locks, but added that her family was not so at ease.

“It’s not bothering me, it’s actually my daughter who is more worried. She says I should maybe colour it instead,” she laughed.

“But it will grow out again - it’s only hair.”

Irene will receive her new hairstyle at 11am at Harold Williams Home, along with community member Jake Dart and St Anne’s laundry worker Steve Simpson.

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