Chop chop: Sienna McLure is raising awareness for death literacy as a supporter of Shannon’s Bridge. Photo: EDWINA WILLIAMS

A big trim for two charities

February 28, 2020 BY

ALMOST a decade ago, Kayla Riley lost her mum to cancer.

For many years since, she’s campaigned for cancer research, generating $30,000, and her drive to fundraise has been instilled in her daughter, Sienna McLure.

Although Sienna was only a toddler when her nan died, their bond was strong. The 11-year-old Clunes Primary School student continues to think of those in cancer treatment and how she could make their experience more manageable.

“Sienna decided that she wanted to chop her hair and donate it to be made into a wig,” Ms Riley said. “It has to be at least 35.5cm from a low ponytail.

“Variety, the children’s charity, was the best choice because they can give funding for people to buy their own wig, or if someone buys a wig, the money spent on it goes into paying for support equipment for a child.”

Coordinating a fundraiser alongside the haircut was Sienna’s next project. Overhearing her mum talk about palliative care charity, Shannon’s Bridge, it made sense.

“My mum wanted to die at home, but didn’t have the option to do that,” Ms Riley said.

With a goal to collect at least $1000 for the Creswick organisation, Sienna’s fundraising will create some Shannon’s Packs to help patients ease their pain safely at home between medical appointments, and pay for other operations at the End of Life Care Hub.

Tins are now collecting cash throughout Clunes, Creswick and Ballarat. Sienna’s school is set to have a Purple Day next month, before she cuts her hair at the end of term.

Purple was the favourite colour of Shannon McKnight. She sparked Shannon’s Bridge, losing a battle with lymphoid leukaemia.

Clunes Primary School will be thoughtfully involved in activities on their fundraising day.

“We’re going to bake cupcakes. Shannon liked to make cupcakes,” Sienna said. “It feels good to know I’ll be helping other people.”

Jeremy McKnight might be the director and general manager of Shannon’s Bridge, but also as Shannon’s father, he’s especially grateful.

“Shannon’s first wig meant a lot to her. She could actually go outside and not feel embarrassed,” he said.

“When you go outside in a wig, you blend in, you feel a little bit more normal and it was an amazing feeling for her. She cried the first time the wind went through her hair, so what Sienna’s doing will mean an awful lot to a young girl.”

Visit shannonsbridge.com/siena for more information or to donate online.