Life has not been easy for Ersk­ine Park teen but she is still smil­ing

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - FRONT PAGE - Ali­son Bald­ing

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

She is al­ways laugh­ing and smil­ing — I think in a way she wills her­self well

He­len Hackenberg

Pic­ture: Peter Kelly

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.

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