Staff at the Health Centre at Spring Hill Corrections Facility in Te Kauwhata have banded together to support a colleague facing her fight against cancer, with three nurses and three Corrections Officers shaving their heads to raise awareness of ‘the big C’.
“Our staff are a very close knit team. In the Health Centre they think of themselves as whanau, rather than colleagues,” says Prison Manager Gavin Dalziel.
“One member of the team is courageously facing a battle with cancer. When she announced she was going to lose her hair because of the chemotherapy treatment, a couple of others decided they would lose theirs too.”
At a special event in the prison’s Health Centre on Wednesday 25 August staff gathered around to watch as four men had their heads clean shaved and two women had their long ponytails chopped off. Special permission was granted for the group to wear bandannas for the day – usually prohibited in prison because of their gang connotation.
The event is part of ‘Cancer Awareness Month’ – a month that Heath staff have dedicated to cancer education and awareness. The Health Centre has been decorated with coloured card daffodils handmade by a member of staff, and fresh daffodils, which bring cheer to an otherwise clinical space.
“Cancer knows no bounds. It has an impact on every person in this country – no matter who you are. With prisoners our focus is on early detection so we’ve been promoting prostate checks, examining moles that don’t look quite right and encouraging the men to take responsibility for their health.”
Earlier this year, prison staff ran their own version of the ‘relay for life’ – travelling over 1200 kilometres inside the walls of the prison and raising $3521.82 for the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Cancer Society.
“I’m really proud of the way that these staff are supporting their colleague through her battle. Fighting cancer is one of the biggest fights anyone will ever endure in their life, and any way that we can support her, and the work of the Cancer Society, we will.”
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