PAYING IT FORWARD
Life has not been easy for Erskine Park teen but she is still smiling
When Shayley Hackenberg was battling serious illness as a child the community rallied behind her. Now she is determined to give back.
THE little girl from Erskine Park who stole hearts and saw so many people rally for her cause is grown up now and determined to give back.
With a beaming smile and infectious giggle it is hard to believe Shayley Hackenberg, now 19, is still fighting an uphill battle with so many health challenges.
Despite her latest scare, which resulted in her being put in an induced coma last October, Miss Hackenberg has others in mind.
With the help of her St Marys South McDonald’s workplace, she has arranged a fundraising event this Saturday, when she will chop off her hair for The World’s Greatest Shave to raise money for the Leukaemia Foundation.
This is not the first time Miss Hackenberg has appeared on The Mt Druitt
Standard’s front page. In 2002 we shared her first day of kindergarten — a milestone she was never expected to reach because of a rare blood condition and brain tumour.
Efforts by the community helped fund a lifesaving experimental treatment.
Her focus now is on uni- versity studies as she trains to be a play therapist in a children’s hospital because they provided her with so many moments of joy as she endured endless needles and biopsies.
She said when her hair began to fall out after the latest scare she decided to lose it on her terms.
“I lost all my hair when I was little and had to do chemotherapy,” Miss Hackenberg said. “I’m not a girlie girl so it’s not something I’m attached to, so when it started to fall out again I decided to be in control of how and when I go bald.”
Proud mum Helen said her daughter’s positivity was inspiring. “You could solve the mental health issues of the world if you could bottle what Shayley has,” Mrs Hackenberg said.
“Whether they’re worried about money or other struggles, I say just spend a day with Shayley. She is always laughing and smiling — I think in a way she wills herself well.”
The fundraiser will run from 11am to 1pm on Saturday at St Marys SouthMcDonald’s.
Miss Hackenberg will shave her hair at noon and activities include face painting, a cake stall, coloured hairspray, music and games.
For more information or to donate visit bit.ly/1oi6ryd.
She is always laughing and smiling — I think in a way she wills herself well
Shayley Hackenberg is preparing to lose her locks for The World’s Greatest Shave and (inset) when she first appeared on the front of The Standard.