In the true spirit of Christmas, 19 year old Sophie Feltus celebrated Kapunda Christmas Street Party and Parade doing something for others.
Sophie and her 12 year old cousin, Ella Sawyer had their long locks, many years in the growing, cut off in front of a warm and encouraging Kapunda Parade crowd at the Town Square on December 14 as part of the Leukaemia Foundation’s World’s Greatest Shave.
As well as raising more than $3,500 for the charity so far, the cousins, Sophie from Kapunda and Ella from Gawler, are donating their hair to be made into wigs for cancer patients.
The cause is particularly close to Sophie’s heart, as her father, Mark Feltus has been battling non-Hodgkin lymphoma since his diagnosis on her 16th birthday.
“That’s why I decided to donate my hair because I don’t feel what he goes through, I don’t have those emotions but I watch it and I think, this sucks, what can I do to help?” said Sophie, sporting a freshly cropped look.
“Although the hair is not going to him, it’s going to someone in a similar situation where they have all those crazy emotions because of the treatment they’re on.
“Losing their hair is such a big thing, it’s almost like a spotlight on them… even if they don’t want people looking at them, which was kind of what dad was going through.”
Despite only being 12, Saturday was the second time that Ella has cut her hair for cancer awareness.
“I did it for my Uncle Mark to show him how much we care for and support him,” she said.
“It was really important for me to do it alongside my cousin.”
Sophie was touched to have her young cousin’s support throughout a time that has been a “windmill of emotions” for the family.
“Our family is very, very close, we’re all very supportive and I love it,” said Sophie.
“You have your good days and you have your bad days. Our family is extremely strong and we do bond together like crazy… you have to put on a tough skin.”
The Kapunda community has rallied around the Feltus family.
“I’ve never lived anywhere except Kapunda, and everyone’s always been so supportive,” said Sophie.
“When something like this happens, it’s overwhelming how awesome they are. They all get together and help out.”
As well as the many generous personal donations the girls have received, Kapunda business, Litl Mo’s Bakery and Cafe has been donating $1 from every cup of coffee, tea and chocolate sold to the fundraiser, with more than 230 cups being sold so far.
The Kapunda Christmas Street Party and Parade committee also embraced Sophie and Ella’s haircut as part of the main stage line-up of events on the night, giving the girls plenty of well-deserved publicity.
Unfortunately Mark was unable to be present due to vital treatment in hospital.
“I know he wanted to be there to support Ella and I, but we’re there to support him, and that’s the focus at the moment,” explained Sophie.
“We called him and we Facetimed him and we sent him all the photos straight away and tried to get him involved as much as possible because we know how much it meant to him.”
Despite the challenges the Feltus family has faced recently, their positivity and sense of humour shines through, evident in the way Sophie described the reunion with her father post-haircut.
“It was the first time I got to hug him without him complaining there was hair in his face!” she laughed.
Sophie’s mother, Sue was immensely proud of the generosity of her daughter and niece.
“They’re great kids,” she said.
“Every mum probably says that, but I really think it’s true.”
Donations to Cousins For Blood Cancer fundraising page can be made up until the end of December through the World’s Greatest Shave website.