MERCURY SERIES - Making A Difference
City Diggers Wollongong trainee Hayley Pymont attracted national attention last year when she was recognised at the 2013 Spirit of Kokoda Awards in Melbourne.
The 19-year-old had experienced homelessness as a child but through sheer determination, still managed to put herself through high school.
After completing her HSC, Ms Pymont went on to be a mentor to many other young people at PCYC and the Twilight Tournaments supported by Rotary.
The RSL movement was so impressed with her leadership abilities it chose her to join others like her to walk the Kokoda Track, which she did on her 18th birthday.
During the process, City Diggers Wollongong general manager Phil Ryan offered her a traineeship in hospitality.
But even he was amazed when she decided to cut off her long hair during the Leukaemia Foundation's World's Greatest Shave to raise money for research, and practical and emotional support for people with blood cancer.
"She has already raised over $1200 from her mates at PCYC and Diggers staff by making it a Facebook event," Mr Ryan said.
"It is amazing what some confidence can do for someone like Hayley when they get a bit of direction and encouragement."
Taliah Prewett and Samantha Halmay, of Salon 66, supported Ms Pymont's effort.
They saw how she shed a few tears when Ms Prewett started cutting her hair and by the time it was all gone, they had decided to send it off to be made into a wig for cancer patients who have lost their hair during chemotherapy.
"I only decided to do this three weeks ago," Ms Pymont said.
"I wanted to do it to raise money ... because I know some people with cancer and I wanted to help them. I asked people on Facebook, email and in the club if people wanted to sponsor me. You can still do it online by visiting my fund-raising page.
Ms Pymont said she got a little emotional at the beginning when she started thinking of her friends with cancer.
She said she was also a bit nervous about losing her hair but her cheer squad of family, friends and workmates all seemed to like her new look.
She encouraged other people to consider the shave.