Thank you for helping us raise more than $55,000 to support the Leukaemia Foundation
In May 2018, Director and State Manager of Schiavello Construction NSW, Christopher Schiavello raised a total of $55,067 for the Leukaemia Foundation’s World’s Greatest Shave.
The generosity of everyone involved positioned Christopher’s 2018 fundraising at number one.
The amount raised is enough to fund three years of laboratory costs for research and development, or allow 220 families to take part in support programmes catered to their specific treatment.
There is no doubt this is an immensely impressive feat of generosity. We would like to thank everyone who has contributed to raise money and awareness for the research, treatment, and support of leukaemia patients.
We sat down with Christopher to talk about why he decided to not only dye his long locks blonde for a week, but also shave his trademark man bun. Here’s why the Leukaemia Foundation sits so close to his heart.
"All I knew was that my friend was sick."
“Growing up, I witnessed my best friend, Xenia, get diagnosed with leukaemia,” Chris says. “We used to talk every night on the phone and one day, right after her 15th birthday, she told me that she had been feeling unwell and didn’t have much energy. She’d been to see a few doctors and the results had come back. One night she said the words, ‘I have leukaemia.’”
“I didn’t know what that meant, or how bad it was; all I knew was that my friend was sick. At 15, you expect the usual trivial life challenges: friendships, school, hormones, love (or so you think). You don’t ever expect to have to deal with your friend developing a life-threatening illness.”
Over the next year, Christopher visited Xenia at the Royal Children’s Hospital almost every day. When he could, he spent weekends at the hospital to “just be with her.”
Christopher recollects, “I saw her lose her hair, throw up after treatment, doze off while the medication flowed through her drip. Doctors, specialists, blood transfusions, contracting jaundice, and the pained look on her face after getting a lumbar puncture… You name it; I saw most of what she was going through. It’s not the life you envisage when you’re 15.
The reason I did [The World’s Greatest Shave] was because of Xenia. Because no child should have their youth taken away from them or disrupted by disease. Xenia was one of the lucky ones; she survived. Eighteen years later, we’re still best friends.
Christopher is thankful for the generosity he’s received from the people he knows, as well as the generosity from strangers; “I’m lucky that I’m in a position where I’m surrounded by an amazing group of people – friends, family, colleagues, contractors, and clients all donated to the cause. Even strangers from all around the world chipped in via my dog’s Instagram.”
“People in executive positions like myself should use their status to do positive things and contribute to a great cause. I never forget the privileged life that I was given, nor do I take it for granted. All I did was cut my hair – and make myself look like Fabio for a week! It was the least I could do to help eliminate this disease from impacting another 15-year-old in the future.”
Christopher sums it up perfectly; “after all… it’s just hair."