Sometimes you meet people who astound you with their strength, determination, compassion and love. One such soul is a newly married mother of two, the niece of a Multiple Myeloma Warrior, friend of another Multiple Myeloma Warrior and wife of a soon-to-be stem cell donor. As you can see the connections are not only strong but also very personal.
Meet Teagan Grant, mother of two little men under the age of 3, working part-time, caring for another toddler during the day, looking for another job whilst cutting hair with ALL of her earnings going to the World’s Greatest Shave fundraiser she has created.
A bit of background
Around three years ago Teagan’s uncle, Pat Smith, was sent back to Australia to start intensive cancer treatment. Unbeknown to family and friends, Pat had been battling Multiple Myeloma for 6 years in Kuala Lumpur and later in Brunei.
What is Multiple Myeloma?
Multiple Myeloma is a form of blood cancer, not dissimilar to Leukaemia and is specifically a cancer of the plasma cells. Plasma cells are a type of white blood cell found in the bone marrow. The plasma cells mutate and become cancerous and multiply, spreading throughout the body. Dr Google did put ‘fear’ into us when we first googled this hideous disease, however as with diversity in the world, each person copes and reacts differently so pigeon-holing Pat into the ‘typical MM’ warrior just will not sit pretty with him.
Ultimately this disease damages the immune system, kidneys and red blood cells. MM is classified as a blood cancer, hence the introduction to The Leukaemia Foundation and our special mentor Linda Saunders, who provides emotional and physical support, advice, love, guidance, accommodation and support groups. She saved us from drowning.
Teagan became aware of the severity of the disease when Pat came home from overseas (unbeknown to us at the time) he was in a critical condition and had to go into ‘isolation’ (due to intensive chemotherapy and treatment) for close to 2 years fighting for his life.
At the same time, Teagan found out she was pregnant with her first son, Landen, endured emergency procedures and surgeries, then fell pregnant with her second son Jagger and again was faced with similar hurdles and obstacles to her first pregnancy.
Teagan faced these challenges with a strength and determination that astounded her doctors.
After a long two years, with Jagger then being 6 months of age, her beloved uncle was finally able to meet her cherubs and his story was told. Her heart broke when the truth of what he has endured to date became knowledge. She woke one morning, looked at her waist length platinum blonde locks and decided she wanted to ‘give back and talk about what her uncle was going through’.
After chatting with others and discussing her ambitious plan, she cut her hair to shoulder length (so its not too much of a shock on the day), logged onto the Worlds Greatest Shave website and the rest is history.
With the love and guidance from barber Nasir Sobhani (Nas), an amazing story we told in 2017, who owns the Streets Barber Shop (shop 3/112 Pakington St, Geelong West) Teagan has put all of her heart, time and energy into bringing awareness of Multiple Myeloma and blood cancer. Support and donations will make her shave an awesome event and truly reward Teagan for her courage and commitment.
Come along March 8th – from 12pm midday to the Corio Cricket Club/Shell Reserve, 48 Purnell Rd, Corio to cheer her on.
Family Friendly event – face painting, entertainment, jumping castle, opportunities for gold coin donations, raffles, food and drinks and of course supporting The Leukaemia Foundation, Multiple Myeloma Warriors and the Victorian Wildlife Society.
You too can change the colour of your hair. There’s a mammoth raffle, food and entertainment for all ages. Let’s get behind this, behind this beautiful soul, watch her loose all her locks as her beloved uncle shaves her head to match his.
Story: Sally Smith. Photo: supplied